Desert Hammer, IP War Day test joint training capability

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mason Hargrove
  • 56th Fighter Wing

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — In a total force effort, the 56th Fighter Wing conducted Instructor Pilot War Day in conjunction with a larger joint-force exercise hosted by the 944th Fighter Wing, Exercise Desert Hammer, Nov. 3-4, 2023, over the Barry M. Goldwater Range, Arizona.

Exercise Desert Hammer combined with IP War Day, involved more than 300 combat support Airmen and 96 aircraft, this joint-force exercise is a routine event with U.S. Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Navy.

“The purpose of IP War Day is to guarantee that our operators preserve an elite standard of tactical skill and that our instructor pilots can translate insights from the large-scale exercise into regular training for their students,” said U.S Air Force Col. Matthew Johnston, 56th Operations Group commander. “This exercise solidifies the tactical readiness of our Airmen and affirms their expertise, reinforcing our commitment to training the world’s greatest fighter pilots and combat-ready Airmen.”

The exercises aimed to replicate intense aerial combat scenarios, featuring an array of aircraft including F-35A Lightning II’s from the 61st Fighter Squadron, F-16 Fighting Falcons from 309th Fighter Squadron, F-35B Lightning II’s from USMC Air Station Miramar, a KC-46 Pegasus and F-15 Eagles from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

“IP War Day is a testament to our commitment of advancing training and readiness,” said Reserve Citizen Airmen Lt. Col. William Wisehart, 944th Operations Group deputy commander. “This exercise not only reinforces our operational capabilities but also strengthens our community ties, aligning with our mission to train combat ready Airmen and foster enduring partnerships.”

The exercise’s primary intent was to maintain and enhance tactical proficiency, particularly focusing on air-to-air defensive maneuvers in a variety of combat scenarios and contested areas. It aimed to bolster coordination and readiness among the various units, ensuring that aircrews are adept and prepared for the agile deployment of airpower in future operations.