SOCEUR’s Demo of Rapid Dragon

Rapid Dragon

Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) has demonstrated its use of the palletized Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) from one of its MC-130J Commando IIs. The Rapid Dragon missile system was showcased on November 9, 2022 in the sea area off the coast of Northern Norway. The long-range, precision-guided cruise missiles were dropped on a pallet by a parachute from a MC-130J Commando II. The intent of the demonstration which showcases some enhanced capabilities is to deter Russian aggression and expansionist behavior.

The event was part of the Atreus exercise held near the Arctic region. The Atreus exercise involves several participating nations – among them Poland, Romania, Norway, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The Atreus series began in April 2021 to identify and conduct training opportunities for U.S., NATO allies and partners.

The launching aircraft was from the 352nd Special Operations Wing. The site of the launch was at Norway’s Andoya Space Defense Range. A parachute attached to the deployment box is tossed out of the back of the MC-130. The parachute deploys and pulls the pallet out of the aircraft. The initial deployment parachute is cut away and four more parachutes then deploy. Once the load is stabilized by the four parachutes, the missile is released in a downward direction. In a matter of seconds, the missile’s wings and tail deploy and engine turns on. The cruise missile is then on its way to the target area.



Photo: A palletized effects system falls from the cargo hold of a 352d Special Operations Wing MC-130J Commando II during a live-fire demonstration for ATREUS 22-4 at Andøya Space Defense Range, Norway, Nov. 9, 2022. This is the first time Rapid Dragon, a precision effects capability for medium-sized or larger cargo aircraft that allows U.S. and NATO forces a flexible rapid response option, has been employed in the U.S. European Command theater. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Brigette Waltermire)

Video: Watch a 30-second long video about the JASSM. This is a computer animation to help showcase how the palletized JASSM is loaded and employed. (SOCEUR Facebook, Nov 10, 2022)

Article: “U.S. Special Operations Command Conducts First-Ever Demonstration of the Joint-Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile”, DVIDS, November 9, 2022.

Article: “Special Ops C-130 Tests Pallet-Dropped Cruise Missiles in the Arctic”, by Joseph Trevithick, The Warzone, November 9, 2022.

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