83d Fighter Weapons Squadron
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|83d Fighter Weapons Squadron|
83d Fighter Weapons Squadron
|Branch||United States Air Force|
The 83d Fighter Weapons Squadron is a non-flying unit that conducts the Air Force Air-to-Air Weapon System Evaluation Program. The squadron evaluates the total air-to-air weapons system including aircraft, weapon delivery system, weapon, aircrew, support equipment, technical data and maintenance actions. The squadron hosts 38 air-to-air WSEP deployments annually at Tyndall AFB.
The annual firing of 300 missiles evaluates all Air Force air-to-air missile capabilities for the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, AIM-7 Sparrow missile, AIM-9 Sidewinder missile and aircraft guns, and also provides live missile training for combat Air Force crews as a secondary objective. Squadron personnel verify weapon system performance, determine reliability, evaluate capability and limitations, identify deficiencies, recommend corrective action, and maintain Combat Air Force-wide data.
The squadron investigates missile envelopes and evaluates capabilities and limitations to determine future firing requirements. They provide liaison support for pre-deployment, employment, and redeployment of Air Combat Command, United States Air Forces Europe, Pacific Air Forces, Air National Guard, U.S. Air Force Reserve and Canadian Forces participating in WSEP, William Tell and WIC missile firing programs.
World War II 
Established in early 1942 as a IV Fighter Command squadron, initially equipped with P-38 Lightnings. After training in California was deployed overseas to the European Theater of Operations (ETO) in England. Was initially assigned to RAF Goxhill for European transition training with the Royal Air Force, then assigned to its operational station at RAF Duxford. Was assigned to VIII Fighter Command for heavy bomber escort duties of B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberators, engaged in long range strategic bombardment of military and industrial targets in Occupied Europe and Nazi Germany. Engaged in air-to-air combat with Luftwaffe interceptors over France and the Low Countries, the extended range of the P-38 could not extend over Germany. Replaced P-38s with P-47 Thunderbolts in mid-1943; later with P-51D Mustangs in 1944 which enabled the squadron to fly escort missions deep into Germany and also engage in fighter sweeps over enemy airfields, bridges, railroads, road transport and other targets of opportunity. Continued combat operations until the German Capitulation in May 1945.
Demobilized in England during the summer of 1945; returned to the United States and was inactivated largely as a paper unit, October 1945. Was reactivated by the United States Air Forces in Europe in 1946 as an occupation unit at Army Air Force Station Strubing, Germany in 1946-1947.
Air Defense Command 
The 83d was transferred from USAFE to Air Defense Command in June 1947, being stationed at Mitchell Field, New York. Prior to being equipped it was transferred to Hamilton AFB, California where it received F-51D Mustangs and F-84B Thunderjets. In the fall of 1950 it was upgraded to F-84Ds and in August 1951 it transitioned into F-89B Scorpions. In July 1952 the squadron moved to Paine Field, Washington and received F-86D Sabres. In August 1955 the 83d FIS designation was transferred back to Hamilton AFB to another F-86D squadron, and the organization at Paine Field was reassigned.
In December 1957 the 83d FIS received F-l04A Starfighters to become the first operational F-104 squadron in ADC. In addition, the squadron received the two-seat, dual-control, combat trainer F-104B. The performance of the F-104B was almost identical to that of the F-104A, but the lower internal fuel capacity reduced its effective range considerably.
It was found that the F-104A was not very well suited for service as an interceptor. Its low interception range was a problem for North American air defense, and its lack of all-weather capability made it incapable of operating in conjunction with the SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) system.
Service with the F-104s consequently quite brief, and the Starfighters were replaced by more heavily-armed all-weather McDonnell F-101B Voodoo in July 1960. The F-101B proved to be a quite successful interceptor. assigned alongside the F-101B interceptor was the F-101F operational and conversion trainer. The two-seat trainer version was equipped with dual controls, but carried the same armament as the F-101B and were fully combat-capable.
On 1 July 1963 the squadron was inactivated, the aircraft being passed along to other Air Defense Command squadrons. It was reactivated at Loring AFB, Maine in July 1971 replacing the 27th FIS which was equipped with F-106 Delta Darts. The 83d FIS was deactivated in June 1972 as part of the draw-down of Air Defense Command.
Reactivated in 1972 as a T-38 Talon Undergraduate Pilot Training squadron at Webb AFB, Texas. Inactivated with the closing of Webb in 1977. Reactivated at Tyndall AFB, Florida as a weapons evaluation squadron in 1991.
- Constituted 83d Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) on January 13, 1942.
- Activated on February 9, 1942.
- Redesignated: 83d Fighter Squadron on May 15, 1942
- Inactivated on October 18, 1945
- Activated on August 20, 1946
- Redesignated: 83d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on January 20, 1950
- Redesignated: 83d Fighter-Day Squadron on November 18, 1956
- Redesignated: 83d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on February 8, 1957
- Inactivated on December 31, 1969
- Reactivated on 1 July 1971 by redesignation of 27th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron personnel and equipment.
- Inactivated on 30 June 1972
- Redesignated: 83d Flying Training Squadron and activated on December 1, 1972
- Inactivated on September 30, 1977
- Redesignated: 83d Fighter Weapons Squadron and activated on January 23, 1991
- 78th Pursuit (later Fighter) Group, February 9, 1942 – October 18, 1945
- 78th Fighter (later Fighter-Interceptor) Group, August 20, 1946
- 4702nd Defense Wing, February 6, 1952
- 4704th Defense Wing, August 1, 1952
- 529th Air Defense Group, February 16, 1953
- 78th Fighter Group, August 18, 1955
- Attached to the 13th Air Task Force, September 15 – December 20, 1958
- 78th Fighter Wing, February 1, 1961 – December 31, 1969
- 21st Air Division, 1 July 1971-30 June 1972
- 78th Flying Training Wing, December 1, 1972 – September 30, 1977
- Tactical Air Command (Air Combat Command after June 1, 1992)
- USAF Air Warfare Center, January 23, 1991
- 475th Weapons Evaluation Group, October 1, 1991
- 53rd Wing
- 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, October 1, 1995
- A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980, by Lloyd H. Cornett and Mildred W. Johnson, Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
- Maurer, Maurer. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force: World War II. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1982.
- USAF Aerospace Defense Command publication, The Interceptor, January 1979 (Volume 21, Number 1).