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USMC trials AGM-179 JAGM with AH-1Z Viper

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

The US Marine Corps (USMC) in early November completed a series of operational test and evaluation (OT&E) trials with the Lockheed Martin AGM-179 Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) from the AH-1Z Viper reconnaissance and attack helicopter at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida.

“The JAGM evaluation was to determine its suitability and effectiveness to support expeditionary advanced base operations, such as conducting sea denial operations within the littorals and supporting sea control operations,” US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) said in a release. “All of the launches were successful under planned test conditions,” NAVAIR added.

A US Army-led programme, the AGM-179 JAGM is intended as the successor to the AGM-114 Hellfire family of missiles – principally the AGM-114R Hellfire II ‘Romeo' semi-active laser and AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire radar missiles – in the army, US Navy, and USMC 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-179 JAGM. The marines are also planning to equip the UH-1Y Venom utility helicopter with JAGM.

Supported by the US Air Force (USAF) 96th Test Wing's 780th Test Squadron at Eglin AFB, USMC Marine Operational Test & Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1) AH-1Z pilots conducted multiple live-firing events off the coast of Florida between 3 and 7 November. The OT&E trials tested all guidance modes of the missile against realistic operational threats, and hit moving target boats at ranges out to 7 km.

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