Ellsworth airmen assemble munitions for future flights

Ellsworth bombers will be well-equipped for future operations after a large scale munitions exercise.

Airmen with the 28th Munitions Squadron assembled live munitions during a “bomb build” at Ellsworth Air Force Base on Friday.

Munitions specialists constructed several tons of bombs for use in training deployments and general use.

Building teams attached some payloads with a JDAM guidance tail kit. The attachment gathers GPS data during free fall and adjusts the bombs trajectory mid-air to increase accuracy. The smart bombs will also be resistant to extreme weather.

The squadron also prepared for the assembly procedure by constructing inert bombs.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Blankenship said his squadron treated the practice like an actual construction event. He connected the dangers of munitions assembly to the necessity of a serious practice build.

“These are live munitions; these are real bombs. When you’ve got a 500 pound bomb, that causes a lot of destruction when it hits the ground,” Blankenship said. “I want my guys downrange to know what they’re doing, because if they send a bomb out and it gets loaded onto an aircraft and it’s not built correctly and it hits the ground and it doesn’t go off or it goes off target, then we have a whole other problem.”

The squadron has built $324 million worth of munitions, which equates to about 500 tons of explosive weight.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News