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.


 
 

 
sterling-yuma

Sterling Global Operations completes U.S. Navy project to clear munitions, firing range and target debris from Arizona Marine Corps Air Station range

Sterling Global Operations, Inc., in a two-year project for the U.S. Navy, removed or recycled some 5.9 million pounds of munitions, firing range and target debris from Marine Corps Air Station at Yuma, Ariz. Sterling Global re...
 
 

US Army, Raytheon achieve first inflight lethal intercept of low quadrant elevation rocket

YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz. – Raytheon successfully intercepted and destroyed a low quadrant elevation 107mm rocket as part of the second series of guided test vehicle flight tests of the Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative program. The intercept is a major test milestone before the U.S. Army live-fire engagements begin in September. “Beginning only 18 months...
 
 

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...
 

 

New Navy vessel named after Yuma

The U.S. Navy has decided to name one of their newest Joint High-Speed Vessels after the city of Yuma, Ariz., forming an even deeper bond between the local community and our military. Political officials from the state of Arizona and the city of Yuma were informed of the decision by the Honorable Ray Mabus, Secretary...
 
 
DoD

Joint Strike Fighter on track, costs coming down, Kendall says

Indications are that the F-35 joint strike fighter program — the most expensive aviation program in Defense Department history — is on track, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics told a Senate panel June 19. Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee this morning, Frank Kendall said the F-35 will be...
 
 
DoD
WEBarmy-jltv2

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle ‘closes capability gap,’ Army says

While the Humvee has served the Army well for some 25 years, there’s a “capability gap” in what it can do for warfighters on a 21st-century battlefield, said the Soldier responsible for overseeing its replacem...
 




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