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Air Force firing missiles, bombs in Combat Hammer exercise


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HILL AIR FORCE BASE — A group of F-22s from Langley Air Force Base flew into Utah's west desert Wednesday morning for a training exercise. They're just one of several units here, for a rare, realistic training opportunity.

"Some of these air crews, it's the very first time that they've had an opportunity to employ the weapon, as well as the people who are loading it," Lt. Col. Scott Logan said.

Logan is from Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, and his team is helping to closely evaluate the hundreds of munitions being fired off during a two-week period. While some of the missiles and bombs are explosive live rounds, many others are inert; tested to see how well they hit their targets on the ground.

"We have highly instrumented test cameras and test equipment on that range," Logan said.

Out at the Utah Test & Training Range, hundreds more airmen are scrutinizing the weapons fired.

"It's an opportunity for air command to make sure everything works as advertised," Maj. Jonathan Reid, with the UTTR said. "What they're trying to exercise is the full — what we call employment chain that we see in wartime."

Combat Hammer is set to run through Thursday. Residents living along the flight path may have already noticed increased traffic and noise. Still, Logan said it's unlikely that anyone will hear any explosions, or booming sounds, since the UTTR is in a very isolated part of the state.

"It's very remote, very safe what we do," Logan said.

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Mike Anderson

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