USAF F-15E Strike Eagles train to deploy nuclear bombs

USAF F15E nuclear bombs
USAF F-15E Strike Eagle from Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, carrying a B61 Joint Test Assembly, departs Nellis AFB, Nevada, for the Tonopah Test Range during DCA NucWSEP.

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

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, Nevada, 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, Air Combat Command’s Deputy Director of Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration. “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 Air Combat Command. “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 Air Combat Command 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 INDOPACOMs 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 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,” said Kabel. “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.”

Source: Air Combat Command Public Affairs
Image: Santos Torres

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