PACIFIC OCEAN, Guam – The U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force teamed up to unleash a new capability during Exercise Valiant Shield 2016, which debuted Sept. 13 in the Northern Marianas region.
During the demonstration, B-1B bombers from the 337th Operational Test Squadron and F/A-18 aircraft from the 1st Marine Air Wing placed 12 inert Quickstrike-J precision maritime mines and four inert Quickstrike-ER standoff, precision maritime mines to a drop zone west of the Farallon de Medinilla bombing range, located in the Northern Marianas islands.
“Quickstrike are shallow-water mines, and what we have done with this demonstration is integrate Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bomb guidance with existing quickstrike capabilities,” said CDR John Bernie, deputy project manager, Quickstrike Mining Demonstration. “This will allow us to keep our aircrew safer, and will provide an effective deterrent and also provide a new warfighting capability to the Joint Force,” he said.
Commander Bernie said while adding a new capability to the arsenal is never bad news, he said we have to be mindful of how money is spent. Bernie said the new capability is the best of both worlds – because it combines and utilizes platforms which already exist.
“We can integrate this new capability quickly and affordably because it does not require any changes to hardware or software on the jet,” he said. “This represents a significant advance in capability and these two demonstrations we completed this year are stepping stones toward even more potent capability.”
Following the successful test, the inert mines were recovered and are slated to be analyzed for data collection and weapon-component function analysis, in addition to reducing the overall environmental footprint of Exercise Valiant Shield and keeping the waters of the Marianas region clean.
Valiant Shield is a biennial, U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps exercise held in Guam, focusing on real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces at sea, in the air, on land and in cyberspace. This is the sixth exercise in the Valiant Shield series, which began in 2006.