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Sun, May 08, 2005

VS-32 Maulers Launch SLAM-ER

Vikings Team Up To Reach Out

Two S-3B Vikings from VS-32 recently participated in the first S-3B Viking launch of an Operational SLAM-ER missile in an exercise recently at NAS Point Mugu, California. The missile was launched on April 26th at the Naval Air Weapons Division (NAVAIRWD) Sea Test Range (STR) to attack a target on San Nicholas Island. An F/A-18C Hornet from VFA-86 and an F/A-18B from VX-30 assisted during the exercise.

The Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) is an air-launched, day/night, adverse weather, over-the-horizon, precision strike missile with a range of over 135 nautical miles. It uses a Ring Laser Gyro Inertial Navigation System (INS) with multi-channel GPS to keep it on course. An infrared seeker and a Man-In-The-Loop (MITL) data link allows pilots to control the missile after launch. Newer versions incorporate Automatic Target Acquisition (ATA) to improve target acquisition and defeat IR countermeasures.

Aircrew and ground support members from VS-32 have been preparing for the live shot to test the ability of the S-3B to communicate with the missile while on the way to its target. The lead S3-B was crewed by pilot Lt. Mike Kinter, Lt. j.gs. Aaron Massey, Jason Ahmanson, and Rodrigo Simoes. The chase S3-B aircrew was Lt. j.g. Jeff Harper, Lt. Taylor Brownlie, Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Quarderer, and Lt. j.g. Gary Roznovsky. Lt. Chad Deal flew the F/A-18.

The lead S-3B launched the SLAM-ER about a hundred miles from the target and controlled the missile's initial path. The lead S-3B changed the missile's path to a secondary target, a mobile surface to air missile launcher near the initial aimpoint in a midcourse update.

The F/A-18 pilot provided the final (MITL) guidance of the missile when the missile neared the target area while the S-3B served as a backup. The chase Viking provided range clearance, took photos, and served as a second backup for the MITL missile control

This was the first time that a fleet S-3B Viking successfully launched a live operational SLAM-ER in field conditions. This was also the first time a Viking controlled the missile after launch with the midcourse update capability of the missile system.

FMI: http://vs32.pub.ffc.navy.mil/

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