Fighter jets with Northern Lightning exercise drop JDAM munitions for first time at Fort McCoy’s impact area

On August 9, an Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon dropped for the first time in post history as part of exercise Nordblitz 2021.

“This was the first time we have used such guided ammunition at Fort McCoy and it shows the great job our range planners and range safety experts have done to make it possible,” said Larry Sharp, director of training coordination with the Fort McCoy Directorate for Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS). “Our team has done a fantastic job coordinating the near-surface hazard zones for the JDAMs to be deployed. It wasn’t easy, but I think it’s great to see it worked out. It adds another dimension of trainability to the installation. “

The Northern Lightning exercise takes place annually in Volk Field, Wisconsin, which is 30 miles from Fort McCoy. For the 2021 exercise, the Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center hosted approximately 50 aircraft and nearly 1,000 members of the National Guard, Air Force, Army and Navy as part of the exercise, according to an article by Maj.Joe Trovato with the Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs .

“Units from California, Idaho, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin will all be participating in the exercise August 10-21,” the article said. “Northern Lightning started in the early 2000s before expanding into a large-scale exercise in 2015. It became a biannual exercise in 2018 and 2019, and returned to an annual exercise in 2020. Northern Lightning is a joint tactical level training exercise that emulates today’s air battlespace with current and future weapon platforms. ”

The JDAM, which was primarily used during bombing training at Fort McCoy, was the 500-pound BLU-111 / MK 82 warhead.According to the Air Force factsheet on JDAMs, the JDAM is a guiding principle that translates existing unguided free-fall bombs into precise, Converts “intelligent” ammunition for bad weather.

“By adding a new tail section that includes an inertial navigation system and a global positioning system (GPS) master control unit, the JDAM improves the accuracy of unguided general-purpose bombs in all weather conditions,” the datasheet says.

JDAM is a joint Air Force and Navy program.

“After getting out of the aircraft, the JDAM navigates autonomously to the intended destination coordinates,” says the factsheet. “Target coordinates can be loaded into the aircraft before take-off, manually changed by the flight crew before the weapons are released, or entered automatically via the target determination with the aircraft’s on-board sensors. In the most accurate mode, the JDAM system provides a weapon circle error of likely 5 meters or less during free flight when GPS data is available. … A JDAM can be launched from very low to very high altitudes in one dive, throw or loft and in straight and level flight with an off-axis or off-axis release. JDAM enables multiple weapons to be aimed at single or multiple targets in a single pass. “

The historic training mark of using the JDAM at Fort McCoy also occurred the same week as another historic event when the 40th Chief of Staff of the United States Army Gen. James McConville visited the facility.

Fort McCoy’s motto is the “Total Force Training Center”.

Located in the heart of the Upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army facility in Wisconsin.

The installation has provided support and facilities for field and face-to-face training for more than 100,000 military personnel from all services almost every year since 1984.

Learn more about Fort McCoy online at, on Facebook by searching for “ftmccoy”, and on Twitter by searching for “usagmccoy”. Also try downloading the Digital Garrison app on your smartphone and set “Fort McCoy” or another installation as your preferred base.

Recording date: 08/20/2021
Release Date: 08/20/2021 5:06 PM
Story ID: 403657
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