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Republic of Singapore air force participates in weapons exercise at Tyndall

A Singapore air force F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot from the 425th Fighter Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., signals to his crew after a training exercise at Tyndall Air Force, Fla., Nov. 17, 2016. Singaporean pilots from Luke AFB and Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, participated in the Weapons Systems Evaluation Program, which tests both U.S. and international pilots in real-time live-fire exercises to test the effectiveness of weapons in the Air Force arsenal. (U.S. Air Force photo Airman 1st Class Cody R. Miller/Released)

A Republic of Singapore air force F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot from the 425th Fighter Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., signals to his crew after a training exercise at Tyndall Air Force, Fla., Nov. 17, 2016. Singaporean pilots from Luke AFB and Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, participated in the Weapons Systems Evaluation Program, which tests both U.S. and international pilots in real-time live-fire exercises to test the effectiveness of weapons in the Air Force arsenal. (U.S. Air Force photo Airman 1st Class Cody R. Miller/Released)

A Singapore air force crew chief marshals an F-15 Eagle from the 428th Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, into a parked position after a training flight at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 17, 2016. Singaporean pilots from squadrons at Mountain Home AFB and Luke AFB, Ariz., came to Tyndall to participate in live-fire exercises with their U.S. counterparts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cody R. Miller/Released)

A Republic of Singapore air force crew chief marshals an RSAF F-15 Eagle from the 428th Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, into a parked position after a training flight at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 17, 2016. Singaporean pilots from squadrons at Mountain Home AFB and Luke AFB, Ariz., came to Tyndall to participate in live-fire exercises with their U.S. counterparts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cody R. Miller/Released)

Singapore air force maintainers from the 428th Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, load fuel tanks onto an F-15 Eagle at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 17, 2016. The Singapore air force took part in the Weapons Systems Evaluation program, an exercise intended to evaluate weapon systems in their entirety, including aircraft, weapon delivery system, weapon, aircrew, technical data and maintenance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cody R. Miller/Released)

Republic of Singapore air force maintainers from the 428th Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, load fuel tanks onto an RSAF F-15 Eagle at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 17, 2016. The RSAF took part in the Weapons Systems Evaluation program, an exercise intended to evaluate weapon systems in their entirety, including aircraft, weapon delivery system, weapon, aircrew, technical data and maintenance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cody R. Miller/Released)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Airmen from the Republic of Singapore air force participated in a weapons exercise Nov. 7 through 18.

The RSAF squadrons with the 425th Fighter Squadron from Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and the 428th Fighter Squadron from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, participated in the Weapons Systems Evaluation Program held here by the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group.

The purpose of the WSEP is to evaluate operational Department of Defense and allied service members, fighters, missiles and gunnery in realistic air combat scenarios.

“The [Republic of] Singapore air force was here to participate in live-fire exercises,” said Staff Sgt. Corey Hinton, 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron aircraft armament systems specialist. “They come almost every year to test their weapons systems and evaluate their effectiveness with them.”

A normal WSEP usually consists of two or three squadrons, with no more than 24 aircraft on the ramp for two weeks. The Singaporean squadrons flew F-15 Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons for the exercise.

The weapon systems evaluation allows pilots to experience what they could see in combat. During regular pilot training, pilots go through all the steps to fire a missile except actually firing one, so there is no way to clearly validate whether they’re ready for real combat. The WSEP allows the pilot to actually fire a missile and use advanced instruments to determine how accurate they would be in a combat
scenario.

As with any large exercise, there are always challenges to be overcome.

“The hardest part of any WSEP is the arrival and departure. Moving hundreds of people and coordinating equipment transport can be difficult,” Hinton said.

The Singapore pilots and maintainers were supported by U.S. Airmen from Luke AFB and Mountain Home AFB and helped maintain the training weapons and chaff used for each session of the WSEP. 


Airmen from the 53rd WEG also coordinated with the Singaporean airmen to ensure they arrived safely and were ready to complete their mission on time each day.

“We’re here to support the Singapore units by making sure their munitions requirements are met before each takeoff,” said Airman 1st Class Mason Heritz, a 425th Aircraft Maintenance Unit munitions systems specialist. “They come here once a year for the Combat Archer exercise, and we’re usually attached to ensure everything runs smoothly. All the Singapore troops are great to work with, they make our job extremely easy. They’re all really awesome people.”

Hinton was the lead coordinator for the Singaporean airmen and spoke about his experience working with them.

“There are always barriers that come with international cooperation, but at the end of the day we have a common goal,” 
Hinton said. “Anytime we as nations can come together, it brings us closer together as people.”