News: Louisiana Air National Guard participates in live fire exercise
Story by Capt. Beverly Couto
BELLE CHASSE, La. - More than 100 members of the 159th Fighter Wing and 122nd
Fighter Squadron of the Louisiana Air National Guard, along with eight F-15C aircraft, participated in exercise Combat Archer from May 13-27 in Panama City, Fla.
Combat Archer is a U.S. Air Force combat exercise that uses live fire missile training to exercise and evaluate the total air-to-air weapon system capability of Air Force combat aircraft.
This was the 159th Fighter Wing's first trip to Combat Archer since 2003. The 122nd FS flew 82 sorties and shot 16 missiles, including five AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles, eight AIM-9M-9 and three AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles, as well as several thousand rounds of 20 mm ammunition during the exercise.
"It was a total success in terms of our goals and objectives," said Maj. John Manix, 122nd Fighter Squadron F-15 pilot.
Other pilots remarked on the significance of the training.
"This is probably the only opportunity that a pilot has to see and feel what it's like to fire a missile before having to actually do it in combat. It's an eye opening experience when you actually see a live missile fire off your jet," said Maj. David Slaydon, an F-15 pilot with the 122nd Fighter Squadron.
In addition to testing air-to-air weapon system capability, the weapon loading processes are also evaluated at Combat Archer.
"The weapon loaders train and are certified back at their home units; however, at Combat Archer, their processes are looked at and evaluated for safety," said Senior Master Sgt. Earl Smith, weapons superintendent.
Pilots normally train against similar jets at their home units, but during this exercise, 122nd pilots were able to train against Air Force F-15s of the 71st Fighter Squadron, F/A-18s of VMFA (AW) - 225 Marine Fighter Attack Squadron and Navy F/A-18s of VFA-192 Strike Fighter Squadron.