Service members from the US Air Forces Central (AFCENT) have demonstrated loading, unloading and other procedures with AGM-158 missiles for the MC-130J Commando II aircraft.

This training activity was carried out at the US Air Force’s (USAF) Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, as part of the Rapid Dragon experimentation programme.

The participating AFCENT or Ninth Air Force personnel showcased their capability to load, unload, forward arm, and arm the MC-130J Commando II aircraft with the AGM-158 joint air-to-surface stand-off missiles (JASSMs).

A low observable standoff air-launched cruise missile, JASSM is used for protecting the aircrews from hostile air defence systems, without compromising lethality.

USAF Special Operations Task Group – Central operations director major Anthony Belviso said: “We are demonstrating the capability for MC-130, which is a special operations C-130 Super Hercules, to load, unload, and if it should become necessary — arm aircraft with JASSM.

“We practiced loading JASSM collocated with aircraft, to ensure our processes are in place, in the event to forward arm for F-16 Fighting Falcons or any of bomber at a forward location, we can do that quickly and effectively.”

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Rapid Dragon is a palletised munitions capability mainly focuses on medium-sized or larger cargo aircraft, providing a flexible rapid response alternative to the US military forces.

It aims to test operational utility of delivering long-range weapons from military cargo aircraft, such as MC-130J operated by Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).

AFCENT A4 FWD logistics liaison officer captain Paris Krula said: “Guaranteeing precise logistics is the basis of any mission execution, particularly in high-risk fields such as Aircraft Maintenance and Weapons employment.

“Exercising this muscle daily by training and equipping our members with tools required ensures no fail missions can be executed seamlessly, at any time from any place.”