AATC integration test of air-launched cruise missile enhances Air Reserve Component combat operations

A team from the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command Test Center conducted an AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile launch from an F-16, June, 8, 2022.

JASSM is a low observable standoff air-launched cruise missile, intended to keep aircrews out of range of hostile air defense systems without compromising lethality.

This is the first time a pre-block F-16, an older variation flown by 7 guard units and 2 reserve units, has been used to launch the long range missile.

“This was a significant test as it takes an older model F-16 and allows it to keep pace with and sometimes exceed the capabilities of younger F-16s,” said Lt. Col Dustin Brown, Director, F-16 combined test force.

Air National Guard photograph by Todd Cromar
Airmen with the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center (AATC) load a Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) on a pre-block F-16 for a test launch. This is the first time a JASSM has been launched from a pre-block F-16, a model flown by Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units.

Brown said tests like this are important in keeping the F-16 relevant in future conflicts.

“By validating the use of the JASSM with the pre-block F-16, we are ensuring that 4th generation aircraft are able to participate in major combat operations, and complement 5th generation aircraft missions.”

Feedback from the test will ensure success in future operations of the F-16/JASSM combination, enhancing the scope of combat operations of F-16s flown by guard and reserve units.

AATC is responsible for operational and developmental flight test, tactics development, and evaluation for all Air Reserve Component weapons systems. Additionally, AATC is chartered to modernize the ARC’s Battlefield Airman Enterprise which includes Intelligence, Surveillance, & Reconnaissance, Cyber, Space, and all other Combined Test Forces.

The Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command Test Center is based at Morris Air National Guard Base, Tucson, Ariz.

More Stories