Tuesday, October 4, 2022

U.S. Marine Corps tests new JAGM missiles on land targets

The U.S. Marine Corps announced on Monday that Marines with Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1) conducted an operational test and evaluation of the joint air-to-ground missile (JAGM) from an AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter.

The Marine Corps has revealed that the operational test was conducted at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, Dec. 6, 2021.

According to a recent news release, VMX-1 continues testing and analyzing the capabilities of the JAGM on land targets after they evaluated the effectiveness of the missile on maritime targets in November 2021 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

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Personnel from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two One (HX-21), Naval Air Systems Command Direct and Time Sensitive Strike program office (PMA-242), Marine Corps H-1 Light/Attack Helicopters program office (PMA-276), Army Program Executive Office Missiles and Space, as well as industry partners were on location to observe and analyze the data from the test event. This event can lead to significant improvements in lethality of attack helicopters by arming them with newer munitions equipped with two sensor technologies and optimizes missile performance on land targets.

Photo by Matthew Romonoyske-Bean

“I am proud of all the work and professionalism demonstrated by the joint team striving to hit major milestones of the JAGM initial operational test and evaluation,” said VMX-1 Commanding Officer Col. Byron Sullivan. “The analysts, coordinators, and controllers meticulously pour over all the data captured so this weapon system can bring the necessary firepower to the warfighter.”

The team observed the test of eight separate shots against armored and light armored vehicles in a variety of operational scenarios. Ultimately, the data collected is analyzed to determine overall system effectiveness and refine the tactics, techniques and procedures of employing this weapon in expeditionary advanced base operations, such as strike operations and close air support.

“Watching the joint team perform the JAGM test is like observing a highly-skilled professional football team with seasoned offensive coordinators calling the right plays for an offense that flawlessly executes play after play,” said Maj. Thomas Hutson, the Assault Support department head at VMX-1 and member of the JAGM test team.

This test is part of a larger effort to upgrade the AH-1Z and UH-1Y aircraft, in alignment with the Commandant’s vision of force modernization to maintain a competitive edge against potential adversaries.

The mission of VMX-1 is to conduct operational test and evaluation of Marine Corps aviation platforms and systems.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.

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