EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Florida — Air Cavalry Brigade Soldiers from Fort Hood became the first to fire the Joint Air to Ground Missile during operational testing along the Florida Gulf Coast shores here.

Before traveling to Florida, the 1st Battalion, 227th Aerial Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, also conducted the first record test of the JAGM captive carry inert training missile at Fort Hood.

The Aviation Test Directorate of the U.S. Army Operational Test Command, based at Fort Hood, created land and maritime attack scenarios to assess the ability of the JAGM missile in an operational test environment.

“As test officers, we are charged with putting the system under test in the most realistic conditions possible, without jeopardizing safety of the crews and equipment,” Larry Hood, AVTD’s supervisory military test plans analyst, said.

“The complex operational test of the JAGM during aerial reconnaissance and security missions provided increased aircraft protection from threat weapons through suppression and destruction of enemy air defense, and armor targets with decreased exposure time,” Scott McLendon, military test plans analyst with AVTD, said.

Army AH-64E Apache helicopter pilots felt participating in the operational test was a great experience.

“JAGM is a paradigm shift in missile employment for Apache aircrews, but it represents a welcome and necessary shift,” said 1st Lt. Clayton Jaksha, a 1st Battalion, 227th Aerial Reconnaissance Battalion platoon leader.

“After numerous live-fire events testing all modes of the missile against realistic threats, our aircrews have unparalleled confidence in JAGM’s capabilities. We look forward to employing it in the future.”

JAGM Program Manager Col. Dave Warnick with Joint Attack Munitions Systems said JAGM demonstrates performance required by the Army.

“Over the past year the JAGM missile was put through an extremely rigorous series of tests to ensure the Warfighter was being delivered a capability that provides a decisive edge against a near peer competitor,” he said.

“The JAGM allows the aircrews to fire a single missile at any target without having to choose between numerous missile types.  The end result is destruction of the target with less exposure time and greater aircrew survivability chances,” McLendon said.