Okinawa Marines test newest missile
June 10, 2009
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Marine Attack Squadron 211 on Monday became the first forward-deployed Marine unit to test-fire the AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile.
The new generation missile was launched by one of the squadron’s AV-8 pilots over an ocean test range about 200 miles off Okinawa, said Chief Warrant Officer Brad J. Wilde, an ordnance officer for the squadron, which is based in Yuma, Ariz., and deployed to Okinawa with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The AMRAAM is a “supersonic, air launched, aerial intercept, guided missile employing active radar target tracking, proportional navigation guidance, and active radio frequency target detection,” according to the Federation of American Scientists Web site.
After a Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 225 aircraft dropped four target drone gliders, Harrier pilot Capt. M.W. McKenney targeted one of the gliders and deployed the missile.
“It went off; it hit the target, the works,” said Master Sgt. Earnest Chaney, the squadron’s aviation ordnance chief. “It worked as advertised.” Sgt. Zachery Mathers, part of the ground crew servicing the Harrier that fired the missile, said he wasn’t overly impressed with getting a first in Marine Corps record books.
But, “it was exciting to be doing something new,” he said after helping load a missile under the Harrier’s wing before the test.