MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. -- Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 and Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 conducted a live missile shoot for training, July 21 through 25.
Ordnance used during the training includes the AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-120, LUU-2 flare, and AGM-88.
The Sidewinder is a short-range, air-to-air missile with a kill radius of 30 feet, and was the world’s first combat successful air-to-air guided missile in the late 1950s. The AIM-120 is an advanced medium-range air-to-air missile with active guidance, and was introduced in Iraq in the 1990s.
LUU-2 flares are not missiles and are intended to illuminate targets. They eject from a pod and deploy a parachute, and will burn approximately five minutes.
“It was an extremely successful missile shoot,” said Maj. Charles Jindrich, executive officer of VMFA-312. “Any chance you have to shoot ordnance, you have to take it.”
This exercise gave Marines a rare opportunity to test their combat proficiency with live missiles. Firing live missiles is expensive, making it a rare and valued opportunity for the F-18 squadrons aboard the Air Station.
The AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missile in particular is typically fired in a deployed environment, and five pilots and ordnance loading crews were able to train with this specific missile.
“That’s the first time high-speed anit-radiation missiles have been shot out of Beaufort in the 23 years that I’ve been here,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Steve Parry, an aviation ordnance chief with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 from Lexington, S.C. “It’s a unique training experience for aviators and ordnance personnel to load and fire live HARMs out of Beaufort.”
This exercise tested equipment, tested Marines, and reaffirmed the squadron’s ability to fire missiles accurately.