US F-15s Used Advanced Air-to-Ground Rockets in Baltic Drill

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NATO allies from various nations and services descended on the Baltic Sea to demonstrate new weaponry systems.

The United States Air Force, United States Navy, and United Kingdom Air Force launched air-to-ground weapons from F-15s over the Baltic Sea.


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This happened as part of operational platforms they have for multilateral, multi-domain war preparedness exercises.

Interconnectivity of the Weapons System

The aerial attack assets, which also included F-15Cs and F-15Es, were linked to a network of nodes.

These nodes included an Air Force Air Operations Hub, a Deployable Ground Scheme, a C-17 cargo airliner, and a KC-135 tanker.

All of these have been incorporated with US Army sensor devices and a US Navy P-8 sub-hunting monitoring plane.

The mission scenario consisted of a Combined Joint All Domain Command and Control war military exercise. It was meant to prepare a large, differentiated, linked set of networked warfare nodes extending from air to sea to land.

As they examine the digital network, they know it is critical to the capacity to send data across the many platforms they have operational, not simply airborne platforms, but channels that give them fusion.

“They need to be able to handle objectives and identify where they are in terms of detecting targets and striking,” said Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, United States Forces Europe and Africa, addressing reporters at the current 2021 Air Force Association Conference.

The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle launched the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), a munition that debuted a couple of years back and has since been improved multiple times.

New targeting data connections, a graphical user interface with strike data (and different computer systems relevant to the weapon’s launch and attack flight) are among the modifications to the air-to-ground weapon.

Improvements and Advances

The JASSM Extended Range is also used to equip the B1 bomber and F/A-18 fighter jets for improvements to projectiles, launchers, delivery mechanisms, and more.


Air-to-ground strikes, like those permitted by JASSM, are appropriate for a multi-domain exercise since targeting specifications, guiding technology, and sensor data might come from central ground command or other areas.

Maybe a mobile infantry unit will encounter enemy targets appropriate for a JASSM attack. Alternatively, an airborne drone identifies high-value ground targets over vast distances and rapidly networks targeting information to an F-15 pilot.

Harrigian seemed to highlight this type of connectivity, citing the importance of effective communication from the tactical level to the wing tier.

This is to make sure the maximum advantage of battle is quickly and adequately knowledgeable with the necessary spatial awareness to undertake attack missions.

According to an Air Force assessment of the exercise, units from all areas and NATO partners converged on the Baltic Sea.

The idea is to “create firepower within an area that an opponent believes is shielded by anti-access, area-denial innovation,” per the report.