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Armament Airmen lay down steel

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Zachary Flores, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament systems technician, performs an operations security (OPSEC) check on an M-61A1 20 mm multi-barrel cannon at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 29, 2017. Armament flight Airmen ensure all machinery entering the facility is inspected and remains in compliance with all OPSEC measures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Zachary Flores, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament systems technician, performs an operations security (OPSEC) check on an M-61A1 20 mm multi-barrel cannon at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 29, 2017. Armament flight Airmen ensure all machinery entering the facility is inspected and remains in compliance with all OPSEC measures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Spencer Laird, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament systems technician, reviews the technical order of an M-61A1 20 mm multi-barrel cannon at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 29, 2017. The armament flight cycles through approximately 1,800 pieces of equipment annually to include F-16CM Fighting Falcon gun and launcher systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Spencer Laird, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament systems technician, reviews the technical order of an M-61A1 20 mm multi-barrel cannon at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 29, 2017. The armament flight cycles through approximately 1,800 pieces of equipment annually to include F-16CM Fighting Falcon gun and launcher systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Airman Kevin Bates, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament systems apprentice, fastens a barrel on an M-61A1 20 mm multi-barrel cannon at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 29, 2017. Airmen assigned to the armaments flight perform maintenance on weaponry to include firing pin testing and operation security checks.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Airman Kevin Bates, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament systems apprentice, fastens a barrel on an M-61A1 20 mm multi-barrel cannon at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 29, 2017. Airmen assigned to the armaments flight perform maintenance on weaponry to include firing pin testing and operation security checks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jessica Arancibia, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament system technician, recalibrates an M-61A1 20 mm multi-barrel cannon at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 29, 2017. The armament flight is tasked with ensuring that weaponry on the F-16CM Fighting Falcon is capable of suppressing enemy air defenses without malfunctions that may cause harm to the pilot or damage the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jessica Arancibia, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament system technician, recalibrates an M-61A1 20 mm multi-barrel cannon at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 29, 2017. The armament flight is tasked with ensuring that weaponry on the F-16CM Fighting Falcon is capable of suppressing enemy air defenses without malfunctions that may cause harm to the pilot or damage the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Dickerson, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament systems floor chief, inspects the barrel of an M-61A1 20 mm multi-barrel cannon at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 29, 2017. The armament flight, consisting of approximately 43 Airmen, is tasked with ensuring that all weaponry parts of F-16CM Fighting Falcons are broken down, inspected and put back together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Dickerson, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament systems floor chief, inspects the barrel of an M-61A1 20 mm multi-barrel cannon at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 29, 2017. The armament flight, consisting of approximately 43 Airmen, is tasked with ensuring that all weaponry parts of F-16CM Fighting Falcons are broken down, inspected and put back together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament flight load parts of an M-61A1 20 mm multi-barrel cannon onto an inspection platform at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 29, 2017. The cannon being inspected is comprised of six barrels and is tested for operations security before being installed onto an F-16CM Fighting Falcon. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament flight load parts of an M-61A1 20 mm multi-barrel cannon onto an inspection platform at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., March 29, 2017. The cannon being inspected is comprised of six barrels and is tested for operations security before being installed onto an F-16CM Fighting Falcon. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The 43 Airmen assigned to the 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Aircraft Armament Systems Flight work around the clock to guarantee the weapons and launchers on F-16CM Fighting Falcons are ready to eliminate their target when fired.

This flight is tasked with maintaining the machinery needed for Fighting Falcons, and the pilots who control them, to accomplish the 20th Fighter Wing's primary mission of suppressing enemy air defenses.

“In order to help the pilots complete their mission they will need proper weaponry,” said Master Sgt. James White, 20th EMS arms and military equipment NCO in charge. “We check to make sure that all equipment going on the aircraft is torn apart, inspected and sent back out for installation, ensuring pilot and aircraft safety.”

These Airmen maintain armaments to include the M-61A1 20 mm multi-barrel cannon, LAU-117/118 armament launchers, and the weapon pylons used for equipping launchers onto the aircraft.

On average, the Airmen assigned to the armament flight inspect, repair and send out approximately 1,800 pieces of equipment and weaponry annually to support worldwide SEAD operations.

“Being the flight that maintains and supplies the steel for the pilots is pretty impactful, said Airman 1st Class Spencer Laird, 20th EMS aircraft armament systems technician.

“When you get to assemble the pieces that make up these guns and launchers, it gives you a better understanding of the power that they provide for the aircraft,” said Laird.

Working around the clock, 20th EMS Armament Flight Airmen provide F-16s with the firepower needed to accomplish the mission.