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F-15Es take part in weapons evaluations, enhance readiness.

| 2021

F-15E Strike Eagles from US Air Combat Command participated in Dual Capable Aircraft Nuclear Weapons System Evaluation Program at Nellis Air Force Base, earlier this fall.

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An F-15E Strike Eagle from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, carrying a B61 Joint Test Assembly, departs Nellis AFB, Nev., for the Tonopah Test Range, Aug. 14, 2021 during the Dual Capable Aircraft Nuclear Weapons System Evaluation Program. F-15Es released B61-3 and B61-4 JTAs at the test range to further test the F-15E’s inherent ability to deliver B61 series tactical nuclear weapons (Picture source: Santos Torres)

In this iteration of DCA NucWSEP, aircrew and maintenance professionals flew and loaded B61-3 and B61-4 Joint Test Assemblies, known as JTAs, on F-15Es provided by the 391st Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The JTAs were released at the Tonopah Test Range to support efforts to further test the F-15E’s inherent ability to deliver B61 series tactical nuclear weapons.

“A Nuclear Evaluation Mission tests and evaluates maintenance, aircrew, and weapons Airmen to provide assurance of nuclear capabilities from stockpile to delivery,” said Lt. Col. Douglas Kabel, ACC’s Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration deputy director. “It improves our readiness by giving our warfighters the experience they would need to employ the F-15E and the B61 series weapons in a future conflict within a contested environment.”

As part of the “4+1” future fighter plan, the F-15E provides a complimentary tie from fourth-generation DCA platforms with fifth and sixth-generation fighters. This means that F-15Es continue to play a significant role as the Air Force refines the Combat Air Force, Force Generation Concept.

“CAFFORGEN will increase and sustain readiness for combat air forces,” said Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of ACC. “We have to generate high-performing combat teams before combat – and get them in place at the speed of relevance.”

F-15Es from units around ACC are preparing for the future fight by participating in exercises and operations that incorporate ACE concepts, which ensure forward-deployed forces are ready to protect and defend the United States and ensure readiness and availability to operate alongside allies and security partners.

The 366 FW at Mountain Home AFB, which sourced the F-15E’s used during the recent DCA NucWSEP, participated in Indo-Pacific Command’s Pacific Iron Dynamic Force Employment just weeks before the NucWSEP event.

ACE is the use of agile operations to generate resilient airpower in a contested environment and dynamic force employment is one way the Air Force provides ACE capability to combatant commanders on short notice for strategic effects. These employments are designed to enhance readiness for the high-end fight and provide Airmen who are agile in operational execution, strategic in deterrence, and more resilient in capability.

“As a dual-capable aircraft participating in ACE operations, we send a strong message to our allies and adversaries that our capabilities are credible, our options are numerous and we can respond to crisis in any corner of the world at a moment’s notice,” Kabel said. “These operations enable our joint team to provide extended deterrence to our allies in Europe and around the world in support of our national security strategy.”

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