Tag: U.S. Marine Corps

United State Marines Display Emerging MQ-9 Reaper RPA Capability at MCAS Miramar.

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United State Marines Display Emerging MQ-9 Reaper RPA Capability at MCAS Miramar.
The U.S. Marines showed their brand-new extended-range MQ-9A emergency room Reaper from another location piloted airplane at the MCAS Miramar airshow.(All

pictures: Tom Demerly/TheAviationist. com) New Marine Corps RPAs Will Provide Long Duration Surveillance as well as Close Air Support. The large U.S. Marine M1A1 Abrams containers were gone from the fixed display screens as well as activity trials at the MCAS Miramar Airshow in 2022. The Marines retired their heavy container ability throughout the pandemic in 2021. An intriguing, if much less enforcing, fixed screen silently revealed up at the back of this year’s display screens at MCAS Miramar. And also this brand-new exhibition is a substantial instance of the Marines’ capacity to adjust to a progressively unbalanced battlespace while preserving large foe, peer-to-peer fight abilities.

For the very first time at MCAS Miramar, Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1, VMU-1, the “Watchdogs” of Yuma, Arizona, showed a brand-new MQ-9A EMERGENCY ROOM (Extended Range) from another location piloted airplane (RPA). The one-of-a-kind variation of the extremely effective MQ-9 upgrades the heritage Reaper with extensive loitering capacity. The MQ-9A emergency room can continue to be on terminal over a target location for approximately “34 hrs”.

The most obvious attribute of the brand-new U.S. Marine MQ-9A Emergency Room Reaper is both of brand-new 1200-lb capability exterior gas storage tanks. One participant of the Marine system applying the brand-new MQ-9A emergency room Reaper capacity informed TheAviationist.com:”The greatest point is to be able to have a greater on terminal time than actually any kind of various other airplane in the fleet. Having the ability to sustain men on the ground and also having the ability to remain beyond any kind of viewed danger, possibly 24 hrs a day, if we require to.” The participant of the devicetook place to inform TheAviationist.com that the brand-new capacity supplied by lengthy endurance MR-9A ERs is,” Supporting the reconstruction of the littoral fight groups”. The U.S. Marine MQ-9A emergency room Reaper preserves the very same capacities as various other variations of the effective MQ-9 family members however with substantially updated variety as well as endurance. In straightforward terms, the brand-new U.S. Marine MQ-9A emergency room offers Marines on the ground as well as in the near-shore, seaside battle movie theater a loitering monitoring as well as accuracy strike capacity to the tiny device degree. A brand-new USMC MQ-9A emergency room can continue to be airborne over a touchdown pressure or detachment of Marine infantry for more than 24 hrs without disruption. In addition, images
from the MQ-9A emergency room can be cooperated close to real-time with in-theater management completely as much as the highest degree of management around the world. The U.S. Marine MQ-9A emergency room Reaper obtains the improved endurance four-bladed prop for longer slacken times. United state Marines have actually had an enduring aboriginal from another location piloted airplane ability that consisted of the tiny device sized Switchblade drone, the bigger Raven and also Puma RPAs and also the formerly biggest RPA, the RQ-21 Blackjack catapult introduced, from another location piloted airplane. The upgrade to the lengthy endurance MQ-9A emergency room gives not just improved monitoring capacity to Marines on the ground, yet likewise brings the battle verified armed ability of the MQ-9 Reaper household to the Marines. The MQ-9A emergency room is separated from various other Reaper variations mainly by the four-bladed prop as well as both 1200-lb capability outside gas containers. These gas containers offer approximately 25.9%higher endurance relying on elevations, temperature levels as well as winds. Specified endurance can go from 27-hours to 34-hours.

The airplane likewise has actually enhanced touchdown equipment to sustain the larger gas lots.

“,” focal_length “:”13″,”iso”:” 200″,”shutter_speed”:”0.01 “,”title”:””, “alignment”:”1″” data-image-title=”ReaperUSMC_41″data-image-description data-image-caption=” The primary touchdown equipment as well as nose wheel strut of the U.S. Marine MQ-9A emergency room Reaper is heavier-duty to sustain the added gas weight of the airplane. “data-medium-file =”https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/u-s-marines-display-emerging-mq-9-reaper-rpa-capability-at-mcas-miramar-17.jpg”data-large-file=”https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/u-s-marines-display-emerging-mq-9-reaper-rpa-capability-at-mcas-miramar-4.jpg”loading=”careless”course=”size-large wp-image-80816″src=”https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/u-s-marines-display-emerging-mq-9-reaper-rpa-capability-at-mcas-miramar-4.jpg” alt size=”706″ elevation=”470 “srcset=” https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/u-s-marines-display-emerging-mq-9-reaper-rpa-capability-at-mcas-miramar-4.jpg 706w, https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/u-s-marines-display-emerging-mq-9-reaper-rpa-capability-at-mcas-miramar-17.jpg 460w,”https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/u-s-marines-display-emerging-mq-9-reaper-rpa-capability-at-mcas-miramar-18.jpg 128w, https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/u-s-marines-display-emerging-mq-9-reaper-rpa-capability-at-mcas-miramar-19.jpg 768w, https://theaviationist.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/ReaperUSMC_41.jpg 800w “dimensions =” (max-width: 706px)100vw, 706px”> The primary touchdown equipment as well as nose wheel strut of the U.S. Marine MQ-9A emergency room Reaper is heavier-duty to sustain the added gas weight of the airplane. According to a July 18, 2022 record by Ryan Finnerty on FlightGlobal.com,”GA-ASI [General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems Inc.] will certainly start supplying airplane and also assistance tools this wintertime to assist in the fleet stand-up in late summer season 2023. The UAVs will certainly most likely to Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii, where they will certainly sustain the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment(MLR)based in the exact same location.”While the fascinating, if subtle fixed screen of the MQ-9A EMERGENCY ROOM at the MCAS Miramar Airshow might not have actually drawn in as much spotlight as the popular heritage F/A -18 Hornets as well as brand-new F-35B and also C designs, Marine trip staffs and also assistance employees from VMU-1, the”Watchdogs”, were passionate concerning their brand-new objective as well as capacities while presenting the MQ-9A emergency room Reaper at MCAS Miramar. One participant of the device informed TheAviationist.com that the MQ-9A emergency room stands for,”The inescapable future”of Marine air ability. Members of Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron-1, VMU-1, the” Watchdogs”, present near the brand-new MQ-9A emergency room Reaper from another location piloted airplane at MCAS Miramar throughout the airshow there this previous weekend break. Their names and also faces are covered to preserve functional safety and security. About Tom Demerly Tom Demerly is a function author, reporter, digital photographer and also editorialist that has actually created posts that are released all over the world on TheAviationist.com, TACAIRNET.com, Outside publication, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s federal government media electrical outlet Sputnik, as well as lots of various other magazines. Demerly researched journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly offered in a knowledge event system as a participant of the U.S. Army and also Michigan National Guard. His armed forces experience consists of being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia(Cycle C-6-1)and also as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance device, Company”F”, 425th INF(RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit(LRSU). Demerly is a seasoned parachutist, holds sophisticated SCUBA accreditations, has actually climbed up the highest possible hills on 3 continents and also checked out all 7 continents as well as has actually flown numerous kinds of light airplane.

AGM-179 Joint Air-To-Ground Missile Cleared For Full-Rate Production

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AGM-179 Joint Air-To-Ground Missile Cleared For Full-Rate Production
< img src ="https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/agm-179-joint-air-to-ground-missile-cleared-for-full-rate-production.jpg "alt=" JAGM"title="JAGM_full_production_1

“> A Joint Air to Ground Missile(JAGM) is packed onto an AH64E Apache Attack Helicopter throughout the JAGM Initial Operational Test as well as Evaluation(IOTE)in 2019.(Photo Credit: U.S. Army)The brand-new JAGM rocket is readied to change the AGM-114 Hellfire, BGM-71 TOW and also AGM-65 Maverick. After a distressed and also prolonged advancement, the U.S. Army and also the U.S. Marine Corps ultimately authorized the AGM-179 Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) for full-rate manufacturing on Aug. 30, 2022. The choice, at first anticipated in 2014, was postponed after the tool stopped working to accomplish preferred deadly results throughout screening, causing the Army and also Marine Corps postponing the projectile’s fielding to resolve the trouble.

The turning point additionally notes the effective conclusion of the functional screening of JAGM on the Army’s AH-64E Apache and also the Marines’ AH-1Z Viper helicopters. JAGM changes the tradition AGM-114 Hellfire projectile utilized throughout the solutions, however it has actually been made to likewise change the BGM-71 TOW and also AGM-65 Maverick projectiles.

JAGM currently became part of Low-Rate Initial Production in June 2018. Lockheed Martin created JAGM in minimal amounts to develop a manufacturing base and also sustain the functional screening and also assessment of the brand-new tool. The firm supplied the 1,000 th JAGM to the Army in February 2022.

JAGM incorporates a dual-mode applicant as well as support system with the combat-proven AGM-114R Hellfire rocket bus to take accuracy interaction to the following degree. The rocket has actually been made to be backwards suitable with the M299 launcher as well as, with proper assimilation upgrades, with all systems (ground, air and also maritime) that presently can utilizing Hellfire projectiles.

The dual-mode sensing unit uses boosted efficiency on the battleground, incorporating Semi-Active Laser (SAL) and also millimeter wave (MMW) radar sensing units as well as supplying accuracy strike as well as fire-and-forget capacity versus moving as well as fixed land and also maritime and also air-borne targets. This hunter makes it possible for JAGM individuals to strike numerous targets, near concurrently, with even more accuracy in unfavorable climate and also covered battleground problems which enhances individual survivability and also performance.

Remarkably, the hunter’s clear dome has actually been obscured in every picture launched by the Army as well as Marines up until now. In many cases, the markings on the rocket have actually been obscured as well. JAGM as well as Hellfire appearance virtually tantamount in the pictures, thinking about that JAGM shares the very same electric motor as well as warhead of the AGM-114R as well as the primary distinction is the candidate as well as advice area in the front.

The Army experienced a number of failings throughout live-fire screening of a very early design as well as production growth variation from an AH-64E Apache before 2018, consisting of 2 projectiles missing their target. The record specified that struck the ground “well outside the ruptured span of the warhead” as well as one more struck “near all-time low of the lorry track as well as roadway wheels”. Throughout a significant examination occasion where 18 rockets were introduced from an AH-64E Apache strike helicopter, among the 4 launches with an online warhead likewise fell short to detonate. The Army claimed it had the ability to settle those issues in succeeding screening as well as analysis.

Promotional picture of the AGM-179 JAGM with the initial systems arranged to use it, the AH-64E Apache Guardian, the AH-1Z Viper and also the MQ-9 Reaper. (Image: Lockheed Martin)

The Marines additionally dealt with JAGM on the AH-1Z Viper throughout a first functional examination and also analysis at Fort Hood, Texas, and also Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in mid-2019. 2 projectiles were discharged, both of which did not struck watercraft targets at the facility of the vessel, however instead striking even more in the direction of the back. Once more, the troubles were addressed in succeeding rounds of screening.

In March 2019, JAGM accomplished the Initial Operating Capability for the U.S. Army’s AH-64E Apache helicopters. Quickly after the IOC, functional pilots terminated rockets in all JAGM involvement settings versus fixed and also relocating, maritime as well as land targets in daytime problems throughout Initial Operational Test & & Evaluation at Fort Hood, Texas, and also Eglin AFB, Florida. A few of the armored targets were covered or covered by countermeasures like smoke, radar reflectors and/or camouflage netting, with JAGM showing high lethality also in visibility of the countermeasures.

The online fire screening consisted of shots versus an up-armored T-72, a BMP infantry battling automobile, employees outdoors, as well as behind block over block and also adobe wall surfaces, according to the unidentified Director Operational Test as well as Evaluation record. The rocket showed boosted lethality versus those targets by utilizing a brand-new postponed fusing ability, postponing warhead ignition up until after projectile infiltration for optimum damages.

JAGM has actually not been examined yet in an energetic digital war setting or versus dangers furnished with Active Protection Systems, yet the Army means to examine this in future screening to examine if these arising danger abilities can restrict JAGM efficiency. DOT&E is additionally suggesting the Army to perform rocket trip screening in the Arctic to examine efficiency while in existence of severe cool temperature levels.

In March 2022, JAGM likewise attained the IOC on the AH-1Z Viper assault helicopter, complying with the most recent examination project where AH-1Z pilots used JAGM off the shore of Florida in November 2021 as well as performed land-based screening in Arizona in December 2021. The Marines carried out numerous live-fire examination objectives versus reasonable functional risks mixed-up, efficiently shooting at relocating target watercrafts with a variety of 7km away and also showing the helicopter’s maritime targeting capacity.

The strategy is to eventually incorporate JAGM onto helicopters as well as unmanned airplane, like the MQ-1C Gray Eagle, along with on air protection systems like the Mobile Short-Range Air Defense System, or M-SHORAD, that the Army swiftly fielded to its developments in European in 2015. Rita Flaherty, Lockheed Martin’s vice head of state for method and also organization procedures within its Missiles and also Fire Control market, initial chatted concerning this M-SHORAD principle to press reporters at Eurosatory 2022 in Paris.

The Hellfire rocket is currently offered for the M-SHORAD Stryker-based system that the U.S. Army created. The solution created the demand to develop the system in February 2018 as well as, in simply 19 months, the initial models were provided for screening. Provided the compatibility of JAGM with the AGM-114 launchers, it is anticipated that the brand-new rocket can be promptly incorporated on the M-SHORAD.

Lockheed Martin is additionally purchasing future JAGM enhancements, consisting of a JAGM-Medium Range alternative with variety raised from 8 kilometres to 16 kilometres without affecting the projectile’s size or size. The firm is additionally remaining to collaborate with the U.S. Air Force on a fixed-wing launch capacity as AGM-65 Maverick substitute, claimed Flaherty.

Initially called JAGM-F or JAGM Increment 3, the fixed-wing suitable projectile is anticipated to have a variety of 16 kilometres (which is much less than the Maverick’s array over of 22 kilometres) along with various other redesigns for carriage as well as launch from quick jets. Prospect systems to obtain the JAGM were claimed to consist of the AV-8B Harrier as well as F-35B Lightning II, while some carriage screening was executed on the F/A -18 Super Hornet.

The combination on the F-35 was anticipated after the Block 4 upgrade and also was stated to consist of likewise the capacity to introduce the rocket from the tool bays. A feasible setup revealed couple of years earlier entailed a four-weapon shelf comparable to the BRU-61 made use of for the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb or the shelf utilized for the British SPEAR 3 (Selective Precision Effects at Range Capability 3) air-to-surface projectile (which can be in a similar way introduced from the tool bays).

About Stefano D’Urso Stefano D’Urso is an independent reporter and also factor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A grad in Industral Engineering he’s additionally researching to accomplish a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and also OSINT strategies put on the globe of present disputes as well as armed forces procedures are amongst his locations of knowledge.

Pilot Who Landed KC-130J In A Farmer’s Field After Midair Collision With F-35 Receives Distinguished Flying Cross

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Pilot Who Landed KC-130J In A Farmer’s Field After Midair Collision With F-35 Receives Distinguished Flying Cross
Some images that circulated online after the successful crash landing of the USMC KC-130J.

The KC-130J pilot was awarded a DFC decoration, “the highest award in flying and the fourth highest award for bravery; awarded for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight.”

On Sept. 29, 2020, at approximately 16.00LT a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B and a KC-130J Super Hercules tanker collided during AAR (Air-to-Air Refueling) operations. The F-35B pilot successfully ejected from the Lightning II (and the video of the jet crashing into the desert near Coachella Valley, California, made the rounds), while the KC-130J pilot managed to perform a safe crash landing on a field near Thermal Airport, California.

The latter, belonging to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 352 “Raiders” and flying as RAIDER 50, was involved in a refueling mission with the F-35B, callsign VOLT 93, with theMarine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 “Green Knights”, were taking part in Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 1-21, a seven-week training event that aims at improving operational integration of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force.

The KC-130J pilot managed to carry out a successful crash landing despite extensive damage to the engines on the right-wing and the refueling pod, saving the life of all the crew members who assisted him during the emergency. For his life saving action, that pilot, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native Capt. Michael Wolff, received the Distinguished Flying Cross from Maj. Gen. Bradford J. Gering, 3rd MAW commanding general, the U.S. Marine Corps said in a public statement.

The pretty intense audio of the incident was posted by a user at the LiveATC forum.

“LA Center LA Center, RAIDER 50 declaring an emergency, midair collision with VOLT 93. We have two engines out, we’re leaking fuel, and likely on fire, and in emergency descent at this time. RAIDER 50.”

“We declare an emergency. We still have partial control of the aircraft. Two engines out. We are aiming towards uh…”

The Distinguished Flying Cross is the highest award in flying and the fourth highest award for bravery; awarded for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight.

“I’m thankful how everything turned out. I’m happy to be alive” said Wolff, “I still love flying, and I was happy to get up in the air as soon as I could afterwards” Wolff also stated that “everyone did their part and came together”.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.

USAF F-117 Integrated With U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Involved In ‘Lightning Carrier’ Concept Demo

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USAF F-117 Integrated With U.S
An F-35B Lightning II airplane connected to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron(VMFA

)122 and also an F-117 Nighthawk fly over aquatic attack ship USS Tripoli(LHA 7), Apr. 5.( U.S. Navy image by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Theodore Quintana)During”Lightning Carrier” Concept Demonstration, aquatic attack ship USS Tripoli ran with a document 20 F-35Bs. The U.S. Marine Corps packed a tremendous 20 F-35B aboard the USS Tripoli (LHA-7)as component of the”Lightning service provider”principle demo recently. The objective of the demonstration was to reveal Tripoli as well as various other aquatic attack ships ‘capability to run as committed fixed-wing provider systems, with the ability of bringing 5th generation Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing airplane any place they are needed. The 5th generation airplane that participated in the”Lightning Carrier” came from 2 functional armadas: 16x F-35Bs were from the” Vikings “of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 225 and also the”Wake Island Avengers”of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211(that participated in the joint release with the RAF 617 Sqn aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2014, both based at Yuma Marine Corps Air Station, Arizona; 4x were from Marine Operational Test as well as Evaluation Squadron 1, based at Yuma as well as New River, N.C. The airplane were associated with numerous launches as well as healings checking the capacity of the aquatic attack ship to maintain a rise of sorties however the one-week trial concentrated additionally on the treatments for relocating, functioning as well as steering on the

F-35B jets aboard the ship. Based upon the images launched throughout as well as after the demonstration, majority the Lightnings(11 out of 20 F-35Bs), were not bring radar reflectors/luneburg lenses, suggesting that they ran in”stealth setting”( although some had some strange arrangements ): The

absence of RCS boosters+ synchronised visibility of the exterior rail launchers is perhaps a lot more intriguing. I do not believe I’ve ever before seen this arrangement. I’m not certain of the RCS charge generated by the pylons with rail launchers.– David Cenciotti(@cencio4)April

. An F-35B Lightning II airplane connected to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron(VMFA)122 as well as an F-117 Nighthawk fly over aquatic attack ship USS Tripoli(LHA 7), Apr. 5.(U.S. Navy image by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Theodore Quintana )No various other information concerning the assimilation goal however it’s worth keeping in mind that the legendary stealth jets have actually have joined the USMC Lightning IIs, performing DACT(Dissimilar Air Combat Training) with the F-35Bs of the Marine competitor Attack Squadron(VMFA)225″Vikings” of Marine Aircraft Group(MAG )13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, U.S. Marine Corps, released to MCAS Miramar from MCAS Yuma, in February this year. On Apr. 5, the F-117 was likewise identified over Los Angeles possibly on its means back to Tonopah Test Range sustained by a vessel. Discuss a #AvGeek Identifying!!! Heres a #USAF KC-135 vessel c/s COPPER04 HEAVY w/ a #USAF #F 117NightHawk #StealthFighter in tow.

(yes the” retired “ones )overlooking today on a goal to the south of #LosAngeles #StealthFighter #F 117 04-05-22 pic.twitter.com/zuD7kYCuUm– Matt Hartman (@ShorealoneFilms)April 5, 2022 As described in numerous write-ups, while several of the F-117s that were retired in 2008 and also originally maintained in a”Type 1000 “storage space at Tonopah Test Range have actually currently been dismantled as well as moved to galleries around the U.S., F-117s have actually remained to fly over Nevada and also California. We have actually reported discoveries in 2018, in 2019 as well as likewise 2020.

The F-117s are not entirely retired, rather the contrary. Since January 2021, the U.S. Air Force had 48 F-117s staying in its stock. The solution is getting rid of about 4 airplane yearly, indicating that concerning 44 needs to be still readily available. In addition to flying the foe stealth function taking likewise component in Red Flag goals or releasing to airbases throughout the U.S. as reported, the Nighthawks are most likely additionally sustaining the advancement and also screening of stealth or counter-stealth innovations and also methods, as some photos revealing a minimum of one airframe showing off a mirror-like finishing comparable to the one related to 2 F-22s(one that has shown up rather just recently) as well as to an F-35 appears to recommend. NIGHT01(F-117A)from Tonopah identified near Edwards AFB inside the R-2508 facility putting on a chrome coating, March 2022. © Scott Mantegani pic.twitter.com/xhtTqAKnLl– Aircraft Spots(@AircraftSpots) April 4, 2022 Back to the Lightning Carrier,”The principle takes a web page from background”claims Gidget Fuentes on a record released by

USNI News.”In the intrusion of Iraq in March 2003, aquatic attack ship USS Bataan(LHD-5 )and also USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6)were called the”Harrier service providers,”each sustaining 2 armadas of AV-8B Harrier assault jetsfor Commander Task Force 51 as U.S. as well as mixed pressures pressed towards Baghdad. The ships at thetime generally had a detachment of Harriers amongst an airplane mix made up greatly of Marine Corps helicopters.”< img data-attachment-id =" 79291"data-permalink ="https://theaviationist.com/2022/04/09/f-117-f-35b-uss-tripoli/uss-tripoli-and-marine-aircraft-group-13-demonstrate-lightning-carrier-concept/"data-orig-file="https://theaviationist.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/F-117-F-35B-3.jpg"data-orig-size="1024,411"data-comments-opened="0"data-image-meta="hes-back-the-elusive-f-117-stealth-jets-makes-another-appearance-over-star-wars-canyon"data-image-title ="USS Tripoli as well as Marine Aircraft Group 13 show Lightning Carrier Concept "data-image-description data-image-caption="Amphibious attack ship USS Tripoli

(LHA-7), leaves Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., April

7, 2022. (U.S. Marine Corps picture by Sgt. Samuel Ruiz)”data-medium-file=” https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/usaf-f-117-integrated-with-u-s-marine-corps-f-35b-involved-in-lightning-carrier-concept-demo-9.jpg”data-large-file =” https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/usaf-f-117-integrated-with-u-s-marine-corps-f-35b-involved-in-lightning-carrier-concept-demo-3.jpg”loading =”careless”course= “size-large wp-image-79291″src =”https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/usaf-f-117-integrated-with-u-s-marine-corps-f-35b-involved-in-lightning-carrier-concept-demo-3.jpg” alt size =”706″elevation=”283 “srcset=”

https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/usaf-f-117-integrated-with-u-s-marine-corps-f-35b-involved-in-lightning-carrier-concept-demo-3.jpg 706w, https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/usaf-f-117-integrated-with-u-s-marine-corps-f-35b-involved-in-lightning-carrier-concept-demo-9.jpg 460w, https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/usaf-f-117-integrated-with-u-s-marine-corps-f-35b-involved-in-lightning-carrier-concept-demo-10.jpg 128w,”https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/usaf-f-117-integrated-with-u-s-marine-corps-f-35b-involved-in-lightning-carrier-concept-demo-11.jpg 768w, https://theaviationist.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/F-117-F-35B-3.jpg 1024w”dimensions =”(max-width: 706px)100vw, 706px”> Amphibious attack ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7 ), leaves Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., April 7, 2022.(U.S. Marine Corps image by Sgt. Samuel Ruiz)In 2016, an event of 12 F-35B became part of a joint United States Navy (USN)/ United States Marine Corps(USMC)”Proof of Concept”demo aboard USS America resisted the coastline of Southern California. When contrasted to a Nimitz course flattop, the PoC examined the capacity of the America course to run even more than a lots F-35s from its trip deck which is a lot smaller sized. In 2019,”13 F-35B Lightning II airplane with VMFA-122 arrived on the aquatic attack ship USS America( LHA-6)”in the Pacific sea. One of the most current Lightning Carrier trial established the”max”ability at 20. The USS Tripoli(“LHA-7″)”, went back to port at Naval Air Station North Island, California, on Apr. 7, 2022. United States Navy aquatic attack ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7)goes back to Naval Air Station North Island, California on April 7. It sustained the procedure of 20 United States Marines F-35B for Lightning provider principle presentation which revealed that it can run as devoted fixed-wing systems.

pic.twitter.com/mIryL2I4F3– Ryan Chan 陳家翹(@ryankakiuchan)April 8, 2022 About David Cenciotti David Cenciotti is an independent reporter based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder as well as Editor of” The Aviationist”, among the globe’s most well-known and also check out armed forces aeronautics blog sites. Given that 1996, he has actually created for significant around the world publications, consisting of Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and also several others, covering aeronautics, protection, battle, market, criminal activity, cyberwar and also knowledge. He has actually reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia as well as Syria, and also flown numerous fight airplanes with various flying force. He is a previous 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a personal pilot as well as a grad in Computer Engineering. He has actually created 5 publications as well as added to much more ones.

Two MV-22B Osprey Tiltrotor Aircraft Have Trained With The Italian Alpine Troops During Mountain Warfare Ex.

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One of the MV-22B taking part in Volpe Bianca Ex. (Image credit: Alessandro Maggia)

As part fo the Volpe Bianca 2022 exercise, the U.S. Marine Corps aircraft deployed to Italy and carried out training activities with the Italian Army in mountain environment.

Two MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft assigned to the North and West Africa Response Force (NARF) have operated Italy’s western Alps, not far from the French border along with the Alpine Troops of the Esercito Italiano (Italian Army). The aircraft, belonging to the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 (VMM-365) “Black Knights” from MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) New River, in North Carolina, deployed from NAS Sigonella, Sicily, to Cameri Air Base where they obtained operational and logistical support by the Italian Air Force.

From there the two aircraft have supported the first phase of Volpe Bianca 2022 – Ca.STA 2022 an annual, two-week exercise, dedicated to combat in the mountains and at high altitudes, whose aim is to verify the level of training of the Alpine Troops of the Italian Army and validate their ability to operate in the winter mountain scenery and in demanding weather conditions.

The MV-22B of the VMM-365 “Black Knights” during the Winter Resolve phase of Volpe Bianca exercise. (Image credit: Alessandro Maggia)

Planned by the Command of the Alpine Troops of the Italian Army, the drills saw the involvement of the Italian Alpine regiments along with  French and US units: the Julia and Taurinense Brigades, the Alpine Training Center, the 27th French Mountain Infantry Brigade and the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the US Army, along with the specialized departments of the Italian Army, including the 4th Altair Regiment and the 1st Antares of the Italian Army Aviation, teams of the Brigata Informazioni Tattiche (Tactical Information Brigade), the 17th anti-aircraft artillery Sforzesca , along with the Italian Air Force 6° Stormo (Wing) and civil partners.

Sling-load operation (Image credit: Alessandro Maggia)

The 2022 edition of the Alpine Troops’ capability verification was mainly oriented towards mountain warfare, and included four different phases: Steel Blizzard, with movement and combat activities in the mountains; Winter Rescue – with simulations of rescue operations at high altitude – and, in the wake of the tradition of the Alpine Troops Ski Championships, the Ice Challenge and Ice Patrol competitions, respectively individual military and patrol biathlon competitions.

MV-22 at work in the Alps (Image credit: Esercito Italiano)

The Steel Blizzard was itself split into two separate events, called Winter Resolve and Winter Rescue. The first one, Winter Resolve, took place between Feb. 28 and Mar. 3, 2022, and saw the participation of the two MV-22Bs that along with two Italian Army UH-90s carried out missions in the mountains, at high altitudes and in adverse climatic conditions due to snow, ice and very low temperatures. In particular, the Ospreys have carried out personnel and material transportation missions, sling load operations, infiltration and exfiltration of troops as well as MEDEVAC (Medical Evacuation) sorties.

MEDEVAC mission (Image credit: Esercito Italiano)

The two MV-22s returned to NAS Sigonella on Mar. 4, 2022.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.

USMC F-35Cs Have Departed For The First Operational Deployment Aboard USS Abraham Lincoln

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PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 3, 2022) F-35C Lightning II, assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314, arrive aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) as they prepare to deploy alongside the Navy as an integrated part of Carrier Strike Group 3. The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, led by Carrier Strike Group 3, deployed from San Diego, Jan. 3, in support of global maritime security operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by 1stLt. Charles Allen)

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing becomes the first Marine squadron to deploy the F-35C on an aircraft carrier.

The F-35C Lightning II of the U.S. Marine Corps reached yet another milestone, with the type leaving for the first operational deployment aboard an aircraft carrier. The F-35s of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 “Black Knights”, part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, arrived on the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) on January 3, 2022, together with the other squadrons assigned to Carrier Air Wing Nine.  The USS Lincoln is leaving San Diego with Carrier Strike Group 3 to head for the Pacific Ocean.

“The Black Knight’s deployment of F-35C Lightning II aboard USS Abraham Lincoln is the newest chapter in the Marine Corps’ long history of naval integration,” said Maj. Gen. Bradford J. Gering, 3rd MAW commanding general. The upcoming deployment represents years of hard work and innovation by the Marines and Sailors of VMFA-314, MAG-11, and 3rd MAW. It also reinforces our commitment to fielding the most lethal and ready Navy-Marine Corps force as we project warfighting capabilities throughout the Indo-Pacific region, or globally wherever our nation calls.”

The Marines consider the capability to deploy operationally the F-35C significant as it was specifically built for aircraft carrier operations, as well as enhancing the battlespace awareness of all aircraft in the Carrier Air Wing, contributing to a flexible, mobile force that expands the US military advantage at sea. This is especially true in a contested maritime region like the Pacific Ocean, where the presence of the 5th gen fighter aircraft might contribute to the regional stability while providing security for the US and allies.

“Our ability to operate the F-35C in the Pacific greatly increases the Marine Corps’ naval expeditionary force capabilities by providing us the capacity to employ the most advanced electronic warfare capabilities on any aircraft today in support of fleet operations,” said Lt. Col. Brendan M. Walsh, VMFA-314 commanding officer. “In addition, having this asset available greatly increases the Marine Corps’ ability to provide security to our allied nations and preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The 3rd MAW has also demonstrated the F-35’s long-range aerial maritime strike capabilities last summer during Exercise Summer Fury 21. During the exercise, which is the largest Marine aviation exercise on the West Coast, the Wing’s F/A-18C Hornets and F-35s flew from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar to Washington State, a distance of more than one thousand miles, to deliver long-range precision fires on a simulated enemy naval surface combatant in a distributed, maritime environment.

File photo of U.S. Marines F-35C Lightning IIs with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 over Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in 2020. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Leilani Cervantes)

“The Summer Fury long-range strike is an opportunity for 3rd MAW to execute a maritime strike against an enemy surface combatant while being supported by an aerial-delivered forward arming and refueling point,” said Lt. Col. Duncan A. French, 3rd MAW lead operations planner. “The concepts and tasks inherent in this mission are critical to the success of a fight against a peer adversary.”

The first operational deployment of the F-35C comes as a culminating effort as VMFA-314 completed its workups last year with Carrier Air Wing Nine on board the USS Abraham Lincoln. The last step off the workups saw VMFA-314 completing their final integrated training cycle along other elements of Carrier Strike Group Three in December as the Marine Corps continues to develop its 5th Generation strike fighter capabilities.

The development of the USMC’s is 5th Generation strike fighter capabilities to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving future operating environment is still ongoing, as VMFA-314 became the first squadron in the Marine Corps to declare the Full Operational Capability (FOC) for the F-35C Lightning II in July 2021. VMFA-314 was the first Marine Corps squadron to transition to the F-35C variant of the Joint Strike Fighter after retiring its legacy F/A-18A/C aircraft and receiving its first F-35C in January 2020 from Naval Air Station Lemoore and declared the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) by the end of the year.

The Abraham Lincoln Combat Strike Group is led by the command staff of CSG 3 and consists of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, Carrier Air Wing 9, the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) and the guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 21 (DESRON 21) – USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS Gridley (DDG 101), USS Sampson (DDG 102) and USS Spruance (DDG 111). This is also the first time in the U.S. Navy history that a woman, Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt, has been assigned the command of an aircraft carrier and will lead it on an operational deployment.

The Carrier Air Wing Nine includes eight squadrons: Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314 “Black Knights”, flying F-35Cs; Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14 “Tophatters” and Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151 “Vigilantes”, flying F/A-18E Super Hornets; Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 41 “Black Aces”, flying F/A-18F Super Hornets; Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133 “Wizards”, flying EA-18G Growlers; Airborne Command & Control Squadron (VAW) 117 “Wallbangers”, flying E-2D Hawkeyes; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14 “Chargers”, flying MH-60S Knight Hawks Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71 “Raptors”, flying MH-60R Sea Hawks.

Stefano D’Urso is a contributor for TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. He’s a full-time engineering student and aspiring pilot. In his spare time he’s also an amateur aviation photographer and flight simulation enthusiast.

F-35B Drops First GBU-53/B StormBreaker Small Diameter Bomb II

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F-35B of VX-23 dropping for the first time the GBU-53/B StormBreaker. In the box: the bomb with its wings unfolded. (Photos: Raytheon)

During the test, a nearby F/A-18F demonstrated the network connectivity capability by monitoring the weapon until the impact.

Few days after publishing a news feature about the GBU-53/B StormBreaker in which it was announced the first drop by an F-35 Lightning II, Raytheon released more details about the test flight. While the company did not specify how long ago the test happened, they mentioned that it was performed in late 2021 by the U.S. Navy with the weapon being released by a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Three (VX-23).

The press release mentions that, as part of the test, the naval aviator flying the F-35B “used the network-enabled weapon as a guided munition, following the same method one would use in combat, from mission planning to release”. After the weapon release, a nearby F/A-18F Super Hornet monitored the behavior of the weapon over a common network until the successful impact, demonstrating a successful network connectivity capability.

In a previous feature, Raytheon stated that the networking capabilities are one of the key benefits of the StormBreaker. This capability is intended to give an aircraft the possibility to drop the weapon and then hand off its controls to another aircraft connected to the same network. This is considered critical for a JADC2 (Joint All Domain Command and Control) battlespace environment as the U.S. military aims to connect sensors, platforms and weapon systems for multi-domain operations.

“The weapon’s operational flexibility increases the F-35’s capability and capacity, and it helps limit the time our warfighters spend in harm’s way,” said Alison Howlett, StormBreaker program director at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “StormBreaker allows pilots to hit moving targets in adverse weather conditions, which our adversaries have relied on in the past to avoid detection.”

The GBU-53/B, also known as Small Diameter Bomb II, is planned to continue developmental and then operational testing to prove out safety and capability of the weapon when employed by the F-35. The SDB II is scheduled to complete the integration on all F-35 variants by 2023. The integration on the F-35B could be the most sensitive, as in 2015 it emerged that during initial fit checks the BRU-61/A four-bomb weapon rack could not fit inside the weapon bays of the STOVL variant, requiring a redesign of a hydraulic line and a structural bracket to be rolled out with the Block 4 upgrade. To address this problem, the US Navy is also developing a Joint Miniature Munitions rack.

F-16 taking off for a test mission with four SDB IIs mounted under a BRU-61/A bomb rack. (Photo: Raytheon)

The U.S. Navy will declare initial operating capability of the GBU-53/B StormBreaker on the Super Hornet after operational testing concludes in 2022. The U.S. Air Force cleared the weapon on the F-15E Strike Eagle in 2020, making it the first aircraft able to carry the weapon. The Air Force and Raytheon dropped 14 StormBreaker smart weapons in the 2021 Weapons System Evaluation Program, continuing the evaluation and tactics development to paves the way for operational use by combat air forces.

As for the F-35, it will be able to carry eight StormBreaker weapons internally and eight externally, providing the 5th gen. aircraft with the capability to hit moving targets in adverse weather, addressing a wide range of threats and scenarios. Further versatility is added by the multi-effects warhead, which is equipped with shaped charge jets, fragmentation and blast charge effects, and an option for a delayed smart fuze. The total weight of the weapon is just over 200 pounds, with half of it being the warhead alone.

“It packs a big punch. The multi-effects warhead really separates this air-to-surface weapon from its predecessor and other munitions in its class”, said Howlett. “There’s more possible for StormBreaker – options like adding propulsion or swapping out the seeker depending on the mission. The hardware and software can cover a range of threats. It’s a very flexible weapon – one-of-kind with world class technology.”

Another key feature of the GBU-53/B is its tri-mode seeker that employs imaging infrared and millimeter wave radar to see through fog, smoke and rain as the weapon glides over 45 miles to strike both fixed or moving targets on land or at sea. The other modes available for target acquisition are the more common semi-active laser homing and GPS/INS guidance.

Stefano D’Urso is a contributor for TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. He’s a full-time engineering student and aspiring pilot. In his spare time he’s also an amateur aviation photographer and flight simulation enthusiast.

US F-35Bs Board Japan’s Aircraft Carrier Becoming First Fixed-Wing Aircraft To Operate From Japanese Ship Since WWII

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A U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II aircraft with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 242 conducts a low pass next to the Japanese Ship Izumo off the coast of Japan, Oct. 3, 2021. U.S. Marines and Sailors embarked aboard the Japanese Ship Izumo in support of the first ever F-35B Lightning II operations aboard a Japanese vessel. The U.S. and Japan continue to work closely together to broaden their operational capabilities, support the Treaty of mutual Cooperation and Security, and maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler Harmon)

The U.S. Marine Corps F-35s are the first fixed-wing aircraft to operate from a Japanese ship since WW2, following the decision to convert the JS Izumo from helicopter carrier to light aircraft carrier and the plan to buy 42 F-35Bs.

The Japanese MInistry of Defense announced today the first landing of U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II jets on the JS Izumo, posting on Twitter photos and videos of the historic event. The JS Izumo completed the first part of the modifications required for the conversion from helicopter carrier to light aircraft carrier, becoming the first ship of this type in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force since WW2. Also, the F-35s became the first fixed-wing aircraft to operate from a Japanese ship since WW2.

The JS Izumo is the lead ship of the Izumo class and, together with its sister ship JS Kaga, is the largest ship of the JMSDF. First launched in 2013, the Izumo already incorporated some design features to allow operations with fixed-wing wing aircraft, but the decision to finally convert it in an aircraft carrier only came in 2018. The first part of the modification works begun last year, with the ship receiving a new heat-resistant flight deck, new power supply equipment, lightning and deck markings.

The JMSDF then requested the collaboration of the United States for the testing, with the USMC deploying two F-35Bs of the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 242 “Bats” that landed on the Izumo for the first time on October 3, 2021. The two jets’ role is to verify that the F-35B can safely perform flight operations from the JS Izumo’s flight deck, before work resumes for the second round of modifications that will also involve the reshaping of the flight deck’s tapered ending to a squared surface.

For these trials, the JS Izumo was deployed to Iwakuni for a port visit before the beginning of the activities. MCAS Iwakuni is also home of VMFA-242, permanently stationed there together with VMFA-121 “Green Knights”. The unit declared the Initial Operational Capability last month, just 10 months after beginning the transition from the F/A-18 Hornet to the F-35B. During the trials, their F-35 also received the JS Izumo insignia on the tail, with a pilot showing a similar patch after landing.

“This trial has proved that the JS Izumo has the capability to support takeoffs and landings of STOVL aircraft at sea, which will allow us to provide an additional option for air defense in the Pacific Ocean in the near future”, said JMSDF Rear Admiral Shukaku Komuta, commander of Escort Flotilla One. “We still have work to do until the day the JSDF can regularly employ STOVL aircraft at sea, but I am confident that the strong partnership and mutual trust between our two counties will result in its realization.”

Following the decision to convert Izumo and Kaga from helicopter carriers to aircraft carriers, Japan decided to acquire an additional 100 F-35s, of which 42 are F-35Bs. The first 18 STOVL (Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing) aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2023, forming the first of two Japanese F-35B squadrons. It is estimated that about 12/14 F-35Bs can be embarked on the Izumo when operational.

“We have the utmost confidence in the Joint Strike Fighter and are eager for our Japanese allies to have the same capabilities in their hands, which ultimately contributes to our shared goal of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Major General Brian W. Cavanaugh, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Commanding General.

Stefano D’Urso is a contributor for TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. He’s a full-time engineering student and aspiring pilot. In his spare time he’s also an amateur aviation photographer and flight simulation enthusiast.

The AH-1Z Viper Performed The First Link 16 Test Flight As The H-1 Mixed Fleet Surpassed 400,000 Flight Hours

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File photo of an AH-1Z Viper of the U.S. Marine Corps (Image credit: USMC)

The upgrade is part of the new Digital Interoperability suite that will be later extended also to the UH-1Y Venom.

An AH-1Z Viper of the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 demonstrated for the first time the Link 16 to establish a two-way connection between a ground station and the helicopter during a test flight at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The new capability is part of the digital interoperability (DI) suite, which includes Link 16 and Advanced Networking Wideband Waveform (ANW2) data links used to share information across various networks. Another novelty of the DI suite is the new digital moving map which can integrate all the info shared by other assets through the datalink for a better Situational Awareness (SA).

“The H-1 has decades of battlefield experience, it has evolved to fight in numerous environments,” said Col. Vasilios Pappas, USMC H-1 Light/Attack Helicopters program office (PMA-276) program manager. “The integration of these data links aligns with this platforms’ ability to adapt to the ever-changing threat and meet the needs of current and future warfighters.”

An AH-1Z Viper assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 takes off from Naval Air Station Patuxent River. During the test flight, the AH-1Z established a two way connection between a ground station and the aircraft’s Link 16 and Advanced Networking Wideband Waveform (ANW2) systems for the first time. (Photo by: Joy Shrum via NAVAIR)

The Link 16 system, which was provided by Northrop Grumman, is part of a defined road map of planned improvements designed to ensure the AH-1Z Viper maintains its technological edge and combat capability throughout its service life. Thanks to the datalinks, the helicopter can now rapidly share information with other weapon systems, provide greater situational awareness, accelerate the kill chain, and enhance survivability to outmaneuver and defeat the threat across a range of military operations.

“Northrop Grumman’s Link-16 system will help U.S. Marines today, and well into the future, with critical technology that facilitates coordination, collaboration, and interoperability. By enabling the display and integration of Link-16 data with the H-1 system, pilots of the AH-1Z have greater situational awareness and enhanced survivability,” said James Conroy, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability, Northrop Grumman. “This milestone also highlights our focus on “speed to fleet,” due to the unprecedented time between demonstrating the concept and getting to first flight. Flexibility and adaptability, using next generation agile development practices, are the only ways to innovate and keep pace with changing mission needs.”

The integration effort, supported by both Bell (the helicopter’s manufacturer) and Northrop Grumman, culminated in this first one-hour test flight, during which the pilots successfully communicated with a PRC-117G Multiband Networking Manpack Radio, one of the standard medium-range encrypted radios used by ground troops to communicate with air assets and share data and images, and the Mobile Systems Integration Lab, a ground station designed by the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) to validate the suite’s connection with the aircraft.

“The flight was a success and went exactly as expected,” said USMC Capt. Jason Grimes, the first flight pilot and H-1 project officer with HX-21. “There is still work to be done before fleet integration, but it was a step in the right direction in getting a much needed capability to the HMLA [Marine Light Attack Helicopter] squadrons.”

A UH-1Y Venom, left, and AH-1Z Viper fly alongside the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) during a photo exercise, May 17, 2021. Iwo Jima is underway in the Atlantic Ocean with Amphibious Squadron 4 and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) as part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jessica Kibena)

According to the press release, the joint team composed by the U.S. Marine Corps H-1 Light/Attack Helicopter program (PMA-276), Bell and Northrop Grumman leveraged the best practices of Agile Development methodologies to get the DI suite from concept to vehicle design testing in 12 months. Specifically, Northrop Grumman architected and integrated a mission package for Link 16 while Bell provided all of the necessary vehicle analysis and modifications to incorporate the new mission equipment on the AH-1Z.

The complete DI suite includes a new radio, processor, and mission computer software to integrate the information from this new data link onto a new digital map interface. The flight test campaign will continue throughout the summer, with the initial AH-1Z fleet integration expected in 2022. Following the completion of the AH-1Z testing, the USMC will begin the integration of the DI suite also on the UH-1Y Venom.

The news about the first test of the new capabilities arrived just a few days after the USMC announced that the H-1 mixed fleet, composed by both the AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom, surpassed the 400,000 flight hours milestone in April. The two helicopters, which are the latest variants of the AH-1 Huey Cobra and the UH-1 Huey, have been deployed around the globe since 2010. With the last UH-1Y delivered in 2018 and the last AH-1Z to be delivered in 2022, the H-1 fleet is expected to stay in service through the 2040s.

However, some of these helicopters are already headed to long-term storage at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base’s “boneyard”, as Captain Andrew Wood, a USMC spokesperson, confirmed to our friends at The War Zone: “As a result of Force Design 2030 squadron divestments, and pending final disposition, the Marine Corps expects to induct 53 H-1s (27 AH-1Zs and 26 UH-1Ys) into long-term preservation and storage”.

Force Design 2030 is a radical restructuring effort initiated with the goal of creating a more flexible U.S. Marine Corps with new capabilities, even if this will be at the expense of other traditional capabilities which are being downsized or totally eliminated. One of the capabilities that have been eliminated quite unexpectedly, generating some controversies, is the Main Battle Tank specialty, resulting in the almost immediate divestment of the M1 Abrams tank fleet.

Back in 2019, the Marine Aviation Plan foresaw a total of 145 Vipers and 116 Venoms in service by the end of 2022. With the confirmed retirement of 53 H-1s, which already started as the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) published the photos of the first AH-1Z being cocooned last month, the two fleets will lose about 20% of their strength.

However, there is an interesting detail. Some of the first helicopters to be retired come from the recently inactivated Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 (HMLA-367) at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Kaneohe Bay (Hawaii). The III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) confirmed that two of HMLA-367’s AH-1Zs were sent to the boneyard, while others are being sent to other units, and both of them are remanufactured AH-1Ws.

As you may know already, a small number of AH-1W Super Cobras and UH-1N Hueys were remanufactured in the newer AH-1Z Vipers and UH-1Y Venoms, before the USMC decided to continue the program with only newly built helicopters. This might just be speculation, but with the detail confirmed by the III MEF, we might assume that the USMC is retiring only the remanufactured helicopters to employ its resources on the newly built ones.

Stefano D’Urso is a contributor for TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. He’s a full-time engineering student and aspiring pilot. In his spare time he’s also an amateur aviation photographer and flight simulation enthusiast.

Rare Photos Show Italian Eurofighters Dropping Flares During Live-Fire CAS Training With U.S. JTACs In Kuwait

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A Eurofighter Typhoon assigned to the Italian air force drops flares during a bilateral joint fires exercise at Udairi Range Complex, Kuwait, May 26, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristine Legate)

Images of Eurofighter Typhoons popping flares are pretty rare. Here are some cool ones taken during joint training between Italian Air Force and U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps personnel in Kuwait.

Four Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon jets are currently stationed in Kuwait, to support OIR (Operation Inherent Resolve), the multinational campaign against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. The F-2000A jets have deployed in April 2021, as part of “Prima Parthica”, as the Italian Armed Forces operation is dubbed at national level, and operate within the Task Group “Typhoon”.

Since they arrived at Alì Al Salem Air Base, west of Kuwait City, the Italian jets have logged more than 3,000 FH (Flight Hours) carrying out reconnaissance missions on more than 10,000 points of interest, using the Rafael Reccelite reconnaissance pod. Integrated on the Typhoon fleet since 2015, the Reccelite is the Italian Air Force’s tactical pod of choice to carry out ISR missions: it is a Day/Night electro-optical pod able to provide real-time imagery collection. It is made of a stabilized turret, solid-state on board recorder that provides image collections in all directions, from high, medium and low altitudes. The Reccelite reconnaissance pod is used to broadcast live video imagery via datalink to ground stations and to ROVER (Remote Operations Video Enhanced Receiver) tactical receivers in a range of about 100 miles.

Along with the OIR missions, the Italian Typhoons regularly conduct missions over the local ranges in coordination with U.S. JTACs (Joint Terminal Attack Controllers).

Some details about such missions were released by the U.S. DoD. In particular, on May 26, the Typhoons were involved in a live-fire close air support training
conducted with members assigned to the U.S. Air Force 82nd Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron; Army 1st Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment; Navy UNIT; Marine Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines; at Udairi Range Complex, Kuwait.

Typhoon flares
A Eurofighter Typhoon popping flares over a Kuwaiti range (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristine Legate)

During the tactical activity at the range, artillery Soldiers, along with JTACs and forward air controllers with the U.S. Armed Forces, coordinated a series of tasks that incorporated close air support provided by Italian Eurofighter Typhoon pilots.

“For the [Italian Eurofighter Typhoons], this is a great opportunity to be controlled by U.S. ground controllers,” said U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Peter Martinez, 3rd Angelico Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force JTAC in a public release. “This experienced allowed us all exposure to different tempos and language barriers.”

While Soldiers and Marines with the weapons company in the 2nd Battalion and 1st Marines, respectively, fired mortars to orient the pilot’s eyes or suppress enemy fire, JTACs and FACs coordinated with the Typhoon pilots and the weapons company, in what was the first time the U.S. personnel cooperated with the Eurofighter.

Seen from distance, an ItAF F-2000A (as the single seat Typhoons are designated in Italy) drops flares during live-fire close air support training at Udairi Range Complex, Kuwait, May 26, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Taryn Butler)

“It’s the first-time training with [Eurofighter Typhoons] and this gave us a better understanding of their capabilities,” Hansen said. “It also allowed us to broaden our horizons and become a little bit more familiar with how the Army and Marines do what they do, and why they do what they do with the tools they have.”

While over the range, the Eurofighters popped flares: while normal in a real operational environment, it’s not that usual to see a Typhoon (even more so, an Italian F-2000) using flares, i.e. high-temperature heat sources used to mislead surface-to-air or air-to-air missile’s heat-seeking targeting systems, creating the pyrotechnic visual effect similar to a fireworks display. Such countermeasures are used against MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense Systems) and Typhoon flares

An Italian air force Eurofighter Typhoon drops a flare during live-fire close air support training at Udairi Range Complex, Kuwait, May 26, 2021. The training consisted of U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Italian air force personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Taryn Butler)

David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.