ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --
B-1B Lancers from the 28th Bomb Wing participated in a Weapons System Evaluation Program at the Utah Test and Training Range from October 31 to November 9, 2022.
WSEP is a formal evaluation of a squadron’s ability to conduct air-to-surface live fire missions. It’s a critical program that analyzes the weapons employment process starting from when the weapon is first built and ending when the weapon hits the target, demonstrating all aspects of the total weapon system.
Maj. Kristof “Brick” Lieber, 34th Bomb Squadron director of operations, had this to say about the WSEP mission: “It provides our pilots, Weapon System Officers, maintainers and ammo personnel real world experience with live ordinance with building, loading and employing air-to-surface weapons.”
“It’s 2 days of planning and one really long fly day,” said Lieber. “Everyone knows their specific jobs and is extremely focused through the entire weapons employment and sortie, and overall, everyone is excited to be there to test and validate how we’d do in combat.”
The 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 28th Munitions Squadron are responsible for making sure Ellsworth’s aircraft are ready to fight anytime anywhere.
“We require the right maintainers with specific qualifications to meet this mission,” says Master Sgt. Ryan Riley, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron noncommissioned officer in-charge of loading element. “Our loaders have to be certified to load by going through monthly proficiency loads evaluated by weapons Standardization Evaluations.”
“WSEP gives Air Force leaders insight on the effectiveness of these weapons systems and the units they evaluate to help them create plans to employ them strategically.” Riley added.
Lieber finished by stating, “It’s pretty cool knowing that the evaluation that you executed will eventually be briefed up to the highest levels in the DoD and validate that we’re the best at what we do and an extremely lethal and effective combat platform.”
In total, three B-1B Lancers from the 34th BS flew with the GBU-31, GBU-38, GBU-54, AGM-158, CBU-105, and CBU-103s weapon systems on range.
Missions such as WSEP help prepare the 28th BW to provide long range strike at moment's notice anywhere in the world.