Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

The AH-1Z Viper helicopter made the first combat use of the AGM-179 JAGM missile

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jun29,2024

The AH-1Z Viper helicopter made the first combat use of the AGM-179 JAGM missile

JAGM – it is essentially a new dual-mode guidance section mounted on the Hellfire missile rail. It was first used by the 31st MEU AH-1Z in the Philippine Sea. In other live-fire exercises amid escalating tensions with China, AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Force sank a mobile target training vessel in the Philippine Sea on June 26, 2024.

Naval pilots used an AGM-179 JAGM (Joint Air-to-Ground Missile) missile to strike a “mobile training vessel” during expeditionary strike exercises. The Marines also called it the “first” using JAGM from the AH-1Z Viper aircraft in the Indo-Pacific region.

The exercise followed a June 15-21 exercise in which four F-35B Lightning II fighter jets from the 214th Marine Attack Squadron (VMFA) dropped GBU-32 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) bombs on floating targets near coast of western Luzon. The exercise involved drones of the Philippine Navy, Air Force, and an American C-130 aircraft.

The latest exercise of the 31st Brigade, based in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture, in the Philippine Sea, which covers Taiwan's eastern maritime flank, is indicative , given that China is estimated to be ready to provide a blockade from all sides of the island. The tactical significance of the exercises will be explained later.

The statement said that an AH-1Z Viper attached to the 262nd Marine Medium Canopied Helicopter (VMM) Augmentation Squadron launched an “AGM-179 JAGM cruise missile that struck a towed training ship during a training mission. in the sea”. JAGM – it is a high-precision munition designed to hit high-value stationary, moving and mobile land and sea targets.

The missile can be used to protect key maritime areas from a wide range of targets – from armored vehicles to naval patrol ships during conflict. “The success of this expeditionary strike demonstrates the ability of the 31st BMD to deliver high-precision strikes at sea and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”. “As the nation's primary crisis response force, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit is a reliable and resilient unit capable of conducting a wide range of operational and humanitarian operations.

The JAGM provides a true 'shoot and forget' capability to target a missile capable of destroying fast-moving maritime targets such as fast attack boats (FACs) in turbulent sea conditions, – the US Marine Corps said in a statement.

Designed for the same tactical purposes as the AGM-114 Hellfire, this missile bears significant similarities to the latter and is manufactured by the same team that developed the Hellfire. Although the developer, Lockheed Martin, is also working on an MR (Medium Range) variant, the basic AGM-179 JAGM has begun to be used on the US Army's AH-64E Apaches and the Marine Corps' AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters.

Lockheed announced on 30 August 2022 that the JAGM had entered the series production (FRP) stage following approval by the US Army. JAGM – it is, in fact, a new “two-mode” guidance section installed on the “bus” Hellfire, which Lockheed brochures and illustrations show is a propulsion system and a warhead. While the Hellfire has a SAL (semi-active laser), the JAGM, apart from the SAL, also has an MMR (millimeter range radar). It can reach a range of 0.5 to 8 km.

“The dual-mode sensor combines advanced SAL and MMW radar sensors, providing precision engagement and a “fire-and-forget” on stationary and mobile land, sea and even air targets. This sight allows JAGM users to engage multiple targets, almost simultaneously, with greater accuracy in adverse weather conditions and in low-visibility conditions on the battlefield, increasing survivability and combat effectiveness.

Following the FRP, the US Navy's Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 conducted a similar JAGM test on December 7, 2022 off the coast of California against a “moving maritime target” from the AH-1Z Viper helicopter during the Steel Knight exercise 23”. The exercise, conducted by MAG 39 (39th Marine Aviation Group), was “an interdiction operation to ensure littoral operations in challenging conditions.

In the next report in 2023, Navy pilots The AH-1Z Viper explained how the AH-1Z could fulfill a potential “anti-ship role” by striking warships. With Link16 data links that allow the JAGM to receive target updates from other assets, eliminating the need for radio transmissions, Viper pilots can fly “at very low speed to avoid detection, shoot at the most valuable parts of the ship, and fly away”.< /p>

Presumably these are radar and electronic warfare masts, which of course won't sink the ship, but will blind it from all approaching targets with larger and heavier anti-ship missiles. The next strike could be coordinated with a Viper-JAGM attack, with US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets firing AGM-158C LRASM (long-range anti-ship missiles).

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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