Marine Corps

August 16, 2012

VMA-214 achieves missile milestone

Tags:
Story by Cpl. Sean Dennison
Desert Warrior Staff

A detachment with a Yuma-based AV-8B Harrier squadron wrote another chapter of the aircraft’s history when they launched, for the first time, an air-to-air missile operationally Aug. 14.

Approximately 40 Marines with Marine Attack Squadron 214 worked to have the Harriers launch three AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (or AMRAAM, to the maintainers and pilots) during a live-fire exercise at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Aug. 14-15.

“There are three variants (of the AIM-120), the alpha, bravo and charlie,” said Maj. Jeremy Osborne, the VMA-214 operations officer and a native of Pensacola, Fla. “The variant they shot were alphas, which are the oldest version of the AIM-120.”

Then Capt. Michael McKenney, a Harrier pilot with local squadron VMA-211, first launched the missile during a test run in Okinawa, Japan, back in June 2009.

At 12 feet long and weighing approximately 350 pounds, the AIM-120 is a fire-and-forget weapon, able to lock on to targets out of range.

“This is the first BVR (beyond visual range) air-to-air missile the Harrier’s ever had,” said Osborne.

During the live-fire exercise, mediated mainly through the U.S. Air Force’s 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron, the Harrier pilots aggressed remote-controlled F-4 Phantoms and BQM-167 Skeeters over the Gulf of Mexico. No machinery was harmed during the occasion; the controls would avoid the missiles before impact.

The significance of the AIM-120’s first successful operational launch is twofold.

One, this expands the capabilities of the Harrier while deployed with Marine Expeditionary Units at a time when the Corps is getting back to its amphibious beginnings.

“The main reason the AV-8B was able to gain this capability was to provide the escort role for (MV-22 Ospreys) for the MAGTF (Marine Air-Ground Task Force),” said Osborne.

The Harriers’ escort service provide Ospreys safer transportation for Corps assets, the most important being Marines themselves.

Secondly, the capability bridges the gap between the Harrier and the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. The JSF will have long-range armament, too. However, with the Harriers newly acquired weaponry, attack squadrons will be able to offer more versatility until the JSF truly takes off.

“It’s another step forward increasing the AV-8B’s capability of long-range warfare,” said Capt. Mark Maholchic, the Marine Attack Squadron 214 adjutant and a native of Kennesaw, Ga. “This is the step where we prove and we know, through a live-fire exercise, we are capable of defending the fleet at a greater range than we previously were able.”

The detachment is slated to return Aug. 16.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Raytheon, U.S. Army complete first AI3 guided flight test series

Raytheon and the U.S. Army successfully completed the first guided test vehicle flight series of the Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative program at Yuma Proving Ground, Aris. The series consisted of two flight tests against different target profiles. In each case after launch, the interceptor initially guided on in-flight radio frequency datalink updates from the fire...
 
 
osprey

Ospreys support final WTI exercise

Marine Corps photograph by Lance Cpl. Zachary Scanlon A MV-22 Osprey refuels from the back of a KC-130 over the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Ranges near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., April 23.
 
 
Marine Corps photograph by Top of Form
by Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki

VMGR-252 Hercs support WTI

Marine Corps photograph by Top of Formby Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki A forklift loads gear and supplies onto a Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 KC-130J Hercules at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., March 22. VMGR-...
 

 

SecDef says furlough days reduced for civilians

The Defense Department has revised from 22 to 14 the number of days hundreds of thousands of civilian employees could be furloughed this year because of the budget sequester, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced March 29. In addition, a senior Defense Department official speaking on background told reporters the start of the furloughs will be...
 
 

In Brief – March 22, 2013

U.S. training accident kills seven Marines A Marine Corps official says the seven Marines killed in Nevada died after a 60mm mortar exploded unexpectedly during a training accident, March 18. The Marines immediately issued an indefinite moratorium on firing of all such mortars worldwide until an investigation clears as safe the type of weapon and...
 
 
Marine Corps photograph by Cpl. Ken Kalemkarian

Marine Corps’ first operational F-35B conducts initial Vertical Landing

Marine Corps photograph by Cpl. Ken Kalemkarian Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter prepares to make a vertical landing aboard Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., March 21, 2013. This ma...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin