The US Navy in collaboration with the US Air Force (USAF) concluded the first joint maritime strike exercise, called Jackpot Hooligan II.

The exercise aimed to demonstrate the capabilities of the US Navy’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG)-10 to integrate with an MQ-9 uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) to close the structure of attack and remove a target or ‘kill chain’ in an anti-surface operations.

Held in December 2022, the integrated activity involved participation of experts and assets from the USAF, North Dakota Air National Guard (NDANG) and Navy.

The units carried out a wide range of exercises to exchange tactics, techniques and procedures along with at-sea and ashore implementation.

The exercise was undertaken by sailors and airmen from Carrier Air Wing (CVW)-7, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON)-26, 178th Attack Squadron, NDANG, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA)-103 and Command Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic (CSFWL).

During early 2022, the participating personnel from CVW-7, NDANG, VFA-103 and CSFWL established their first detachment at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, Virginia.

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Simultaneously, the CVW-7 was undertaking pre-deployment training to prepare for routine operations under George H W Bush CSG from August 2022.

This allowed NAS Oceana detachment to demonstrate abilities of MQ-9 to support CVW-7 in several maritime domain mission areas. In the next steps, the team focused on developing innovative tactics to conduct final at-sea trials.

The efforts were further improved during a Composite Training Unit Exercise in 2022, when the MQ-9 liaison officer (LNO) integrated UAV with a CSG at-sea for the first time.

NDANG MQ-9 LNO 1st lieutenant Mitchell Mazaheri said: “One major takeaway from MQ-1/9 community’s mission during Global War on Terror was significance of face-to-face integration with soldiers, marines and sailors on the ground prior to their deployments.”