By Capt. Christina Smith, Aviation Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Florida — Air Cavalry Brigade Soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas became the first to fire the Joint Air to Ground Missile (JAGM) during operational testing along the Florida Gulf Coast shores here.
Before traveling to Florida, the 1st Battalion, 227th Aerial Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, also conducted the first record test of the JAGM Captive Carry Inert (CCI) training missile at Fort Hood, Texas.
The Aviation Test Directorate (AVTD) of the U.S. Army Operational Test Command (USAOTC) based at Fort Hood, created land and maritime attack scenarios to assess the ability of the JAGM missile in an operational test environment.
“As test officers, we are charged with putting the system under test in the most realistic conditions possible, without jeopardizing safety of the crews and equipment,” said Mr. Larry Hood, AVTD’s Supervisory Military Test Plans Analyst.
“The complex operational test of the JAGM during aerial reconnaissance and security missions provided increased aircraft protection from threat weapons through suppression and destruction of enemy air defense, and armor targets with decreased exposure time,” said Mr. Scott Mclendon, Military Test Plans Analyst with AVTD.
Army AH64E Apache Helicopter pilots felt participating in the operational test was a great experience.
“JAGM is a paradigm shift in missile employment for Apache aircrews, but it represents a welcome and necessary shift,” said 1st Lt. Clayton Jaksha, a 1st Battalion, 227th Aerial Reconnaissance Battalion Platoon Leader.
“After numerous live-fire events testing all modes of the missile against realistic threats, our aircrews have unparalleled confidence in JAGM’s capabilities. We look forward to employing it in the future.”
JAGM Program Manager Col. Dave Warnick with Joint Attack Munitions Systems said JAGM demonstrates performance required by the Army.
“Over the past year the JAGM missile was put through an extremely rigorous series of tests to ensure the Warfighter was being delivered a capability that provides a decisive edge against a near peer competitor,” he said.
“The JAGM allows the aircrews to fire a single missile at any target without having to choose between numerous missile types. The end result is distruction of the target with less exposure time and greater aircrew survivability chances,” said Mclendon.
About the U.S. Army Operational Test Command:
Operational testing began Oct. 1, 1969, and as the Army’s only independent operational tester, OTC is celebrating “50 Years of Operational Testing.” The unit enlists the “Total Army” (Active, National Guard, and Reserve) when testing Army, joint, and multi-service warfighting systems in realistic operational environments, using typical Soldiers to determine whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable. OTC is required by public law to test major systems before they are fielded to its ultimate customer – the American Soldier.
The Aviation Test Directorate at West Fort Hood, Texas, plans and conducts operational tests and reports on manned and unmanned aviation-related equipment to include attack, reconnaissance, cargo and lift helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, tactical trainers, ground support equipment, and aviation countermeasure systems.