After an initial cadre of Helicopter Anti-submarine Light (HSL) pilots and aircrewmen graduated the Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Instructor (SWTI) course, they returned to San Diego to form the HSL Weapons and Tactics Unit (WTU). Attached to Commander, Helicopter Anti-Submarine Wing (Light) Pacific, the WTU provided Anti-submarine Warfare, Anti-surface Warfare, and Hostile Environment tactical instruction to the squadrons of the HSL Wing. Expanding on the work of the WTU and preparing for the community transition to the Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) mission, the Helicopter Maritime Strike Weapons School Pacific (HSMWSP) was established in 2005 as an Echelon V command. Since then, HSMWSP has recruited experienced pilots, helicopter aircrewmen, intelligence analysts, and ordnance technicians and trained them as instructors. The training process for pilot and aircrewman instructor candidates includes the three-month SWTI course in Fallon, Nevada. Weapons School instructors in turn train and evaluate Fleet aircrew and ordnance technicians.
The Weapons School’s signature training event is the HSM Advanced Readiness Program (HARP), a four week course for 24-36 students which combines academic instruction, flight simulator events, tactical flights, and live fire exercises to certify crews for deployment. Since 2005, HSMWSP has executed 60 HARPs, ensuring the combat readiness of over 1366 SH-60B and MH-60R pilots and aircrewmen. Aviation ordnance instructors have to date conducted 225 ordnance inspections and assist visits. Since 2006, the command has also certified West Coast crews in the Airborne Use of Force mission. From 2008-2010, HSMWSP provided over 1000 hours of flight instruction to Republic of Singapore Navy and Air Force S-70B aircrew. HSMWSP moved into its current training facility in Building 489 in October, 2010. In 2014, the Weapons School introduced tactical instruction in the MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle, while in May 2015 the SH-60B was retired. In delivering HARP and other tactical training to the Fleet, the Weapons School has deployed detachments to San Clemente Island, the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, Fallon, NV, and Atsugi, Japan.