The 52nd Fighter Wing hosted members of the 16th Electronic Warfare Squadron from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida for Combat Shield, March 25-29, 2019.
Combat Shield is an annual program conducted to provide Air Force units an assessment of their aircrafts’ radar warning system, electronic countermeasure pod, missile targeting system pod, and chaff and flare dispensing capabilities.
“Combat Shield is an annual assessment, conducted by an outside agency, that tests all the electronic warfare systems on our aircraft to ensure they are combat ready,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ryan Kenny, 52nd Maintenance Group wing avionics manager.
The assessment is important because it helps keep the 52nd FW prepared with a “fight tonight” level of readiness.
“Exercises like Combat Shield are important for us to be able to see where we are at in terms of how we can fight a war, if we are ready and our capability to fight,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nathan Cox, 52nd Maintenance Group quality assurance inspector.
Teams consisting of members of the 52nd FW and 16th EWS worked throughout several nights to accomplish the assessment.
“We had two primary teams running tests on the jets in the evenings, which were made up of our avionics back-shop and our flight line avionics guys,” Kenny said. “They were working long hours, coming in around 8 p.m. and usually getting off work around 8 a.m. The reason that they came in at night was to minimize the impact on the flying schedule.”
This year’s exercise was a particular challenge as some of the aircraft were being sent on a temporary duty assignment around the same time, however the teams pulled together and successfully accomplished the assessment.
“It was a long week, we learned a lot and are looking forward to next year,” Cox said.