VAQ-209 Successfully Employs First Air-to-Air Missile

Lt. Cmdr Jeff "Stoli" Stodola and Cmdr. Arch "Gorch" Watkins of VAQ-209 successfully employed an AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile off the coast of Virginia, as part of a multi-plane multi-missile Tactical Support Wing training event, Sept. 1.

This marked the first time in squadron history that the Star Warriors employed any air-to-air missile. This was also a career first for both aviators on board. The squadron spent weeks preparing and training for the event. Aircrew conducted simulator events and maintainers practiced with dozens of training loads and arming procedures to ensure the shoot was successful.

The small cadre of maintainers, led by Chief Warrant Officer Michael Pendleton, made the trip to Naval Air Station Oceana having just returned a week prior from Red Flag Alaska, the first large-force exercise the squadron had participated in since receiving safe-for-flight certification in the EA-18 Growler a little more than a year ago.

In the next two weeks, VAQ-209 will also live fire an AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile off the coast of Point Mugu, California. These events reflect the radical increase in capability that the EA-18G brings to the Fleet, including the ability to take on a host of mission sets in both the air-to-air and air-to-ground arenas. It also reflects that herculean effort of the Sailors and the officers of VAQ-209 to increase their own qualifications in the Navy's newest electronic attack aircraft.

Source: US Navy
Date: Sep 4, 2015