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US Marine Corps declares IOC with JAGM on AH-1Z Viper

US Marine Corps personnel assigned to Marine Operational Test & Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1) conduct operational checks on AH-1Z Viper to ensure the aircraft readiness during the Operational Test and Evaluation of the AGM-179A JAGM from the platform at Eglin AFB, Florida, on 4 November 2021. (US Marine Corps)

The US Marine Corps (USMC) declared an Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the AGM-179A Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) with the AH-1Z Viper reconnaissance and attack helicopter on 1 March.

“IOC marks a major milestone for the JAGM programme and significant increase in capability for the AH-1Z,” said US Navy Commander Reid Adams, PMA-242 deputy program manager (Precision Guided Munitions) at Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).

“IOC was achieved with missiles, training, and support equipment delivered to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 to support an upcoming deployment with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit,” NAVAIR confirmed in a statement on 4 March.

A US Army-led programme, the AGM-179A JAGM is intended as the successor to the AGM-114 Hellfire family of missiles – principally the AGM-114R Hellfire II ‘Romeo' semi-active laser (SAL) and AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire radar missiles – in army, navy and marine corps inventories, providing a single missile configuration for multiple platforms. The marine corps' AH-1Z Viper and the US Army's AH-64E Apache Guardian are the threshold rotary-wing ground attack platforms for the AGM-179A JAGM. The marines are also planning to equip the UH-1Y Venom utility helicopter with JAGM.

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