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Without weapons, it’s just another airline

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Luke Olson
  • 114th Fighter Wing
The 114th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS) weapons shop is a multi-faceted unit that ensures the wing’s F-16 Fighting Falcons are ready to take the fight to the enemy at any time.

The 114th Fighter Wing’s combat mission involves air-to-air and air-to-ground operations designed to support ground forces and gain control of enemy airspace.

“Weapons is a lot more than just going out and putting a bomb on a jet. It's the complex troubleshooting of the weapons systems to give pilots the confidence to pull the trigger,” said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Peterson, 114th Fighter Wing weapons manager.

The weapons shop is broken down into four areas: loading munitions on the flight line, repairing and inspecting weapons launchers, the 20 mm gun, and maintaining the aircraft itself.

“Anything weapons related comes out of this shop, whether it's loading the munitions, operating the equipment that holds the munitions, the bomb racks, missile launchers, rocket launchers, the 20mm gun system, and we maintain and troubleshoot all of this equipment,” said Senior Master Sgt. Andy Meyers, 114th AMXS Armament Weapons Supervisor.

Recently, the 114th weapons shop has been embracing the Air Force’s push to transition operations to the agile combat employment (ACE) concept: a proactive and reactive operational scheme of maneuver executed within threat timelines to increase survivability while generating combat power.

The weapons shop honed their ACE skills by training on integrated combat turn (ICT) during November drill to rapidly rearm and refuel the aircraft to reduce ground time and quickly resume air operations.

“During ICTs, the weapons shop aims to recover, reload and relaunch two aircraft with as few people as possible and get them back into the fight as quickly as possible,” said Senior Master Sgt. Darren Gillen, 114th Maintenance Group weapons standardization superintendent. “The ACE concept will allow us to be more lethal and less vulnerable by having a smaller footprint and we’ll be more agile to project the fight forward in any location.”