Germans invade Tyndall for Combat Archer

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Samuel King Jr.
  • 53d Wing Public Affairs
For the second time this year, the Germans invaded Tyndall AFB and the 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron. The German Air Force participated in the 83rd's Weapon Systems Evaluation Program, Combat Archer, Oct. 16-27. 

"The same 'man, mission, machine' the 83rd tests for U.S. forces is just as important to our allies," said Lt. Col. Ryan Luchsinger, 83rd FWS deputy of operations. "Future air warfare will most likely be fought as a coalition, so it's vital that our allies have the same confidence in their air-to-air weapons as the U.S. forces enjoy." T

he GAF has a Flying Training Center as a permanent unit at Holloman AFB, N.M. The training center is equivalent to the U.S. Air Force's weapons schools. The GAF flies PA-200 Tornados, similar to U.S. F-4s. 

The Germans deployed six PA-200s, 70 enlisted and 40 officers for the two week Combat Archer. 

During the WSEP, the Gulf Range's large airspace provides the GAF aircrews more opportunities to perform maneuvers in their Tornados. 

"There are very few limiting factors in the air, unlike in Germany and over the ranges in New Mexico," said Maj. Andreas Seeborger, GAF. 

During this WSEP, the aircrews participated in two Combat Banner missions - a mission that allows the aircrews to fire their aircraft's 27 mm cannon at a large banner being pulled by a Learjet. 

"WSEP is the only chance they have to receive this type of training," said Capt. Summer Koons, 83rd FWS. "Combat Banner is a primary reason why the GAF deploys here." 

The German pilots attending the WSEP also get to fire at unmanned drones, a combat aspect not offered anywhere else. 

"Using a self-propelled drone gives a lot more options than a towed target," said Maj. Mark Meinicke, GAF. 

In Germany, the GAF fire at a flare dropped with a parachute, added Major Meinicke. 

An important goal for the Germans' WSEP was firing the AIM-9, according to Major. Seeborger - which they achieved, firing four AIM-9 missiles. 

The GAF praised their WSEP hosts saying the 83rd made it a great learning experience by providing good coordination and being highly professional. 

But the most enjoyable part of WSEP's 'learning experience' ... 

"Weapons employment itself," said Maj. Meinicke.