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Javelin prepares for Vehicles – Tested to Engage Targets up to 4,725 m’

Photo: Raytheon

Photo: Raytheon

The Javelin missile recently demonstrated the ability to engage targets beyond its current maximum range requirements. During the U.S. Army tests, the Javelin system acquired and engaged targets up to 4,750 meters. This capability would position the missile to better fit with remote weapon station (such as the Protector) where more powerful target acquisition systems are readily supporting extended range, while the weapon itself was not originally designed to perform at the longer range.

“These tests prove that, under favorable conditions, Javelin can have reliable, solid performance as a close-combat weapon system well beyond the current maximum range requirement of 2,500 meters,” said Duane Gooden, Javelin Joint Venture president and Raytheon Javelin program director. “There were two direct hits on the threat representative target at the extended range.” Demonstrating Javelin’s extended range performance will further enhance survivability of the dismounted Javelin gunner in combat.

Most vehicle requirements are for a missile that can engage a target at 4,000-plus meters,” said Barry James, Javelin Joint Venture vice president and Javelin program director in Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control business. “The results of these tests indicate the fire-and-forget Javelin missile can potentially be used in both vehicle and dismounted roles.”

Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are partners in the Javelin Joint Venture.

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F-16s, MiGs engage over Bulgarian skies

By on Friday, April 27th, 2012

U.S. pilots from the 555th and 510th Fighter Squadrons based out of Aviano Air Base, Italy, have been given a rare opportunity to train and share experiences with Bulgarian air force MiG-21 and MiG-29 pilots during their deployment here in support of Thracian Star 2012.

Since the start of the training mission on April 18, Bulgarian and American pilots have been flying together and working toward the goal of the exercise: to strengthen partnerships, increase interoperability between NATO allies and maintain a standard of excellence.

Throughout the month-long bilateral training exercise, Aviano F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots will spend more than 60 hours per week flying close air support, basic fighter and air combat maneuvers, tactical intercepts, defensive counter air and large force missions with Bulgarian MiG-21 and MiG-29 pilots.

“We are performing the same mission sets we do at home station, but we are integrating the Bulgarian pilots into the training,” said Capt. Bryan Faughn, 555th FS F-16 pilot. “It gives us an opportunity to see how another country’s air force works. They are a professional air force just like we are and they take pride in what they do. We are gaining experience while working with an international partner – it’s a unique opportunity.”

F 16s, MiGs engage over Bulgarian skies

To gain better insight into both the tactics of the pilots and the capabilities of the different aircraft, pilots have gone on ride-along flights in the other country’s jets.

Capt. Kirby Sanford, 555th FS F-16 pilot, was the first American pilot to get the opportunity to ride in a MiG.

“It was truly an awesome, once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Sanford said about his flight. “It really highlighted the advantages of both aircraft and showcased the mindset, skills and techniques of the Bulgarians.”

“Though the MiG is an older aircraft, it is still a very capable aircraft,” he continued. “It just goes to show that even an older aircraft can be a formidable adversary with the right pilot.”

Bulgarian air force Capt. Petar Milkov, was the first MiG-29 pilot to fly in an F-16 during Thracian Star 2012. The aircraft was piloted by Col. David Walker, 31st Operations Group and Thracian Star detachment commander.

“I was very impressed by the cockpit ergonomics, ease of flight and mission complexity,” said Milkov. “This bilateral training with my American colleagues is a great chance to extend our partnership in a professional, cultural and personal manner. I also hope to enrich my personal experience and make new contacts.”

While the language barrier could have made it difficult for Bulgarian and American pilots to find common ground, Sanford says they all have one thing in common that makes it easy to relate to one another: a love of flying.

“We’ve all wanted to be fighter pilots since we were young,” he said. “That’s a good basis to start from. We already have something in common that each of us can relate to that has brought forth a mutual respect between us.”

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