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332d Airmen aid U.S. Marines in expanding ACE capabilities

  • Published
  • By Capt. Monique Roux
  • 332d Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron 115 “Silver Eagles” conducted joint ordnance employment validation sorties here, March 14 - 21, 2022.

In January 2022, VMFA-115 members identified a need to develop cross-functional capabilities for U.S. Air Force Joint Direct Attack Munitions to be fitted for employment on Department of the Navy F/A-18 Hornet aircraft.

“We requested interim flight clearance to use Air Force ordnance with our aircraft,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Seth Byrum, VMFA-115 aircraft maintenance officer. “We engaged with representatives from the Navy F/A-18 testing community and ordnance experts across the Navy and Marine Corps enterprise to accomplish this proof of concept and validation.”

The squadron submitted their initial needs assessment to U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command Feb. 7, 2022. In just over 30 days, VMFA-115 members conducted a joint ordnance employment with help from the 332d Air Expeditionary Wing, demonstrating the capability to configure U.S. Air Force JDAMs for use with the Hornet.

“We landed four F/A-18s, refueled, rearmed and departed in about 90 minutes, which exceeded our expectations,” Byrum said. “It is a testament to the training and capabilities of 332d AEW Airmen and their superior support.”

The validation event was accomplished as part of Operation Agile Spartan II, a large-scale, multinational operation focused on operational testing and evaluation of Agile Combat Employment core competencies.

“The most exciting thing about this validation is that although it was accomplished in [Air Forces Central], it is applicable in any area of responsibility,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Timothy Miller, VMFA-115 commanding officer. “It validates that our procedures can be adjusted to further enable interoperability among all of the services. When you think about the nature of agile combat employment and expeditionary advanced basing operations, this is absolutely applicable to enabling more flexibility and agility for whatever the combatant commander needs.”

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