United States Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper Helicopter Test JAGM on Land Targets

Marines from Marine Operational Test & Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1) conducted an operational test and evaluation of the joint air-to-ground missile (JAGM) from an AH-1Z Viper, December 6, 2021 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona.

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. 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 ωɛλρσɳ in expeditionary advanced base operations, such as strike operations and close air support.

“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 ωɛλρσɳ system can bring the necessary firepower to the w4rfighter.”

“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.

The AGM-179 Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) is an American military program to develop an air-to-surface missile to replace the current air-launched BGM-71 TOW, AGM-114 Hellfire, and AGM-65 Maverick missiles.

The U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps plan to buy thousands of JAGMs. The Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) program is a follow-on from the unsuccessful AGM-169 Joint Common Missile program that was cancelled due to budget cuts.

JAGM will share basically the same objectives and technologies as JCM but will be developed over a longer time scale. JAGM incorporates a guidance section capable of precision point targeting using a Semi Active Laser (SAL) sensor, fire and forget targeting using Millimeter Wave (MMW) radar, and a targeting capability that leverages both radar and laser targeting capabilities for maximum operational flexibility.

JAGM leverages the fielded and combat proven HELLFIRE II Romeo (AGM-114R) propulsion, w4rhead and control sections. The JAGM system will be compatible with all joint rotary wing and fixed Wing aircraft that are compatible with the HELLFIRE II missile.

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. 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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