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AFCENT Special Operations Task Group prepares JASSM capabilities

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Zima
  • Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) Public Affairs

U.S. Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) service members demonstrated the capability for the MC-130J Commando II to load, unload, forward arm, and arm the aircraft with the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles, or AGM-158 JASSMs, as part of Rapid Dragon, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Aug. 6, 2023.

JASSM is a low observable standoff air-launched cruise missile, intended to keep aircrews out of range of hostile air defense systems without compromising lethality. Rapid Dragon is a precision munitions capability for medium-sized or larger cargo aircraft that allows U.S. forces a flexible rapid response option.

"We are demonstrating the capability for the MC-130, which is a special operations C-130 Super Hercules, to load, unload, and if it should become necessary -- arm the aircraft with the JASSM,” said Maj. Anthony Belviso, Special Operations Task Group – Central operations director. “We practiced loading the JASSM collocated with the aircraft, to ensure our processes are in place, in the event to forward arm for the F-16 Fighting Falcons or any of the bomber at a forward location, we can do that quickly and effectively.”

While service members conduct ground static training and stand ready for forward rearming and RAPID DRAGON employment, every detail, to include the ground movements and loading procedures, must be practiced to keep maintenance and crews ready at all times.

“Guaranteeing precise logistics is the basis of any mission execution, particularly in high risk fields such as Aircraft Maintenance and Weapons employment,” said Capt. Paris Krula, AFCENT A4 FWD logistics liaison officer. “Exercising this muscle daily by training and equipping our members with the tools required ensures no fail missions can be executed seamlessly, at any time from any place.”

The Rapid Dragon palletized munitions system is capable of deploying long-range cruise missiles using standard airdrop procedures from cargo aircraft like the MC-130J operated by AFSOC. U.S. military and its coalition partners are poised and ready to respond to any aggression in the region. Our regional partnership and our commitment is to protect and defend toward the goal of a secure and stable Middle East.