Lockheed Martin deployed Rapid Dragon munition pallets from two aircraft and released surrogate cruise missiles over the New Mexico desert, completing an end-to-end demonstration of a palletized strike mission.
In collaboration with the U.S. Air Force, the Rapid Dragon team airdropped the pallets from C17 and EC-130 aircraft positioned high above White Sands Missile Range and released substitute joint air-to-surface standoff missiles-extended range, Lockheed said Tuesday.
During both flights, a ground crew relayed new targeting details to the Rapid Dragon system through beyond-line-of-sight communications. The capability is intended to provide combatant commanders with flexibility as they respond to changes in complex environments.
Scott Callaway, advanced strike programs director at Lockheed, said the demonstration is a progress toward exhibiting the palletized munitions concept’s viability and mobility aircraft’s ability to supplement the tactical fighters’ strike capacity.
The Bethesda, Maryland-based defense company will execute more tests in the coming months as part of the USAF Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation program.
The project’s culmination at the end of the year will showcase an MC-130J’s airdrop of an actual JASSM-ER under a powered flight.