Eglin Air Force Base Hosts Commanders’ Conference to Test Aircraft | News

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (WALA) – Pilots with two test squadrons out of Dyess Air Force Base in Texas landed at Eglin Air Force Base to test upgrades for the B-52 and B-bomber -1 flown by Major Paul Homsher.

“What makes it special is that it is the only supersonic bomber in the Air Force inventory,” Major Paul Homsher said.

Major Homsher says the main mission is to carry weapons up to 2,000 pounds, as they did in Afghanistan. They also focus on long-range attacks, which makes testing hardware and software upgrades crucial.

“We see how durable and effective it is, and then we deliver it to our combat squad,” Homsher added.

Major Homsher says it’s all about lethality and plane survivability.

“The enemy is constantly getting smarter. Surface air missile, surface air radar, air-to-air threats smarter,” Homsher said.

This is where Eglin Air Force Base comes in by upgrading the aircraft’s defensive avionics.

“Even though the planes aren’t there, the people who are here are looking at those threats and reprogramming our plane to see and defeat those threats,” Homsher said.

Since the pandemic, it has been difficult to bring together different test squadrons. But this week’s commanders conference gave them the perfect opportunity to see what each other is up to.

“It gives me expectations as to whether it will be a month later, a year later, years later for some type of upgrade that they expect and that could change our tactics in the future,” Homsher said.

And for engineers to have their hands and eyes on the planes themselves.

“Just being here. See how we sit on airplanes, see how we operate. Just looking around is a huge plus for them,” Homsher added. “And it also gave us the opportunity to go into their lab and see what they’re working on.”

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