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Lethal competition: Bomber operations competition pushes for excellence in all conditions

Global Strike Challenge 2019 Logo

Global Strike Challenge 2019 Logo

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. – --

Editor’s Note: This is the sixth in a series covering the competition categories of Global Strike Challenge.

Bomber operators in Air Force Global Strike Command got the chance to demonstrate their skills over the summer during the bomber operations portion of Global Strike Challenge.

Teams from the B-1B, B-2 and B-52H community competed in several events: High altitude bombing, timing control, special instructions (SPINS) completion and electronic countermeasures (B-1 and B-52 only).

In an effort to demonstrate that the command’s bombers are lethal and ready at all times, the competition changed focus this year.

“The focus of our competition this year was to demonstrate our ability as a command to provide long-range precision strike... anytime, anywhere, without the use of the GPS technology that we routinely leverage to achieve greater precision,” said Maj. Seth Shipley, GSC bomb competition lead. “Our crews conducted their missions without the use of GPS inputs, demonstrating our ability to hold targets at risk even without some of our technological tools.”

Capt. Garrett Mack, a weapons system officer with the 37th Bomb Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, was a first-time competitor in the challenge.

“I was honored to be selected in competition,” he said, adding that this year’s event “forced crews to revert to ‘old-school’ weapon employment techniques without GPS,” and bolstered the toolkit of the aircrew.

“I learned that proper mission planning is crucial, but being able to operate on the fly also is,” Mack said. “This is something I continue to improve.”

Bombing scores were computed by taking the average of the points awarded for each bomb released; a minimum of two bombs of the three were needed to receive a score. Points were deducted for each foot away from the target for each bomb dropped.

Timing control scores were determined by each aircraft’s time on target, and points were deducted for each second of deviation from their assigned TOT. The TOT scores were computed using the time of weapon impact.

Each crew’s SPINS score was based on completing mandatory radio calls per the instructions provided by the GSC bomber operations point of contact, and every failed communication check was a penalty.

Electronic countermeasures scores for each crew were based on the combination of a general knowledge test, a platform defensive systems test and execution within the Weapon Systems Trainer flight simulator.

Winners will be announced tomorrow at the Global Strike Challenge scoreposting event here.