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52nd Fighter Wing tests F-16 electronic warfare capabilities

The F-16 Fighting Falcon was one of the many 52nd Fighter Wing aircraft assessed during Combat Shield

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon sits inside a protective aircraft shelter at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 25, 2019. The F-16 Fighting Falcon was one of the many 52nd Fighter Wing aircraft assessed during Combat Shield. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kyle Cope)

The testing devices measured how many flares or chaff the aircraft would eject to protect itself depending on a given threat

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jesse Pickrell, left, 16th Electronic Warfare Squadron Combat Shield inspector, and Airman 1st Class Martin Quiroz, right, 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron avionics apprentice technician, install chaff and flare testers on an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 25, 2019. The testing devices measured how many flares or chaff the aircraft would eject to protect itself depending on a given threat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kyle Cope)

The analysis processor was installed to test the radar warning receiver on the aircraft

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jesus Trevino, 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron avionics systems craftsman, installs an analysis processor in an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 25, 2019. The analysis processor was installed to test the radar warning receiver on the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kyle Cope)

Jones was one of 16 Combat Shield members who came to Spangdahlem for the exercise

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jelanni Jones, 16th Electronic Warfare Squadron Combat Shield technician, tests the electronic warfare systems on an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 25, 2019. Jones was one of 16 Combat Shield members who came to Spangdahlem for the exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kyle Cope)

Cox was responsible for overseeing the two teams who were performing the Combat Shield tests

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nathan Cox, left, 52nd Maintenance Group quality assurance inspector, examines the testing progress made on an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 25, 2019. Cox was responsible for overseeing the two teams who were performing the Combat Shield tests. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kyle Cope)

The Combat Shield teams worked over several nights to complete testing of the 52nd Fighter Wing's F-16 Fighting Falcons

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nathan Cox, left, 52nd Maintenance Group quality assurance inspector, and Senior Airman Bradley Boatman, right, electronic warfare systems team member, discuss Combat Shield progress at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 25, 2019. The Combat Shield teams worked over several nights to complete testing of the 52nd Fighter Wing's F-16 Fighting Falcons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kyle Cope)

Alexander was preparing for and running the F-16 Fighting Falcon through various system operations checks

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Colby Alexander, 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron avionics technician, powers up an F-16 Fighting Falcon's systems to perform Combat Shield testing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 25, 2019. Alexander was preparing for and running the F-16 Fighting Falcon through various system operations checks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kyle Cope)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --

The 52nd Fighter Wing hosted members of the 16th Electronic Warfare Squadron from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida for Combat Shield, March 25-29, 2019.

Combat Shield is an annual program conducted to provide Air Force units an assessment of their aircrafts’ radar warning system, electronic countermeasure pod, missile targeting system pod, and chaff and flare dispensing capabilities.

“Combat Shield is an annual assessment, conducted by an outside agency, that tests all the electronic warfare systems on our aircraft to ensure they are combat ready,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ryan Kenny, 52nd Maintenance Group wing avionics manager.

The assessment is important because it helps keep the 52nd FW prepared with a “fight tonight” level of readiness.

“Exercises like Combat Shield are important for us to be able to see where we are at in terms of how we can fight a war, if we are ready and our capability to fight,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nathan Cox, 52nd Maintenance Group quality assurance inspector.

Teams consisting of members of the 52nd FW and 16th EWS worked throughout several nights to accomplish the assessment.

“We had two primary teams running tests on the jets in the evenings, which were made up of our avionics back-shop and our flight line avionics guys,” Kenny said. “They were working long hours, coming in around 8 p.m. and usually getting off work around 8 a.m. The reason that they came in at night was to minimize the impact on the flying schedule.”

This year’s exercise was a particular challenge as some of the aircraft were being sent on a temporary duty assignment around the same time, however the teams pulled together and successfully accomplished the assessment.

“It was a long week, we learned a lot and are looking forward to next year,” Cox said