A San Clemente Long Range Raid Exercise: Marines Test New Approaches and Technologies


04/21/2014: The Marines are engaged in a series of exercises to re-shape the capability of the ground combat element to operate with much greater situational awareness prior to disembarking from the Ospreys for a mission.  This is also required because of the amount of time the GCE might have on the Osprey prior to disembarking compared with the much more limited time scale for a rotorcraft insertion.

Operating from the training base in Twentynine Palms and landing on San Clemente Island off of California, approximately 100 students from the Infantry Officer Course in Quantico flew aboard Ospreys the simulated test area to eliminate cruise missile threats and take back an airfield from enemy forces.

The exercise was conducted by the Infantry Officer Course paired with VMX-22 and the Ospreys were accompanied by a specially configured Osprey with an airborne communication gateway with a Wi-Fi network that linked the tables carried by the squads riding in the Ospreys.

The Cat Bird, the F-35 surrogate sensor aircraft, which operated its sensor sent real time information about the objective area to the Marines in route to the objective area. The information shared was maps and images as well as text messaging among the ground force element aboard the Ospreys. 

The F-35s went in and provided the capability to eliminate the ground missile threats and allowed a distributed company to be inserted to do their job.  In other words, the Osprey carried the force; the F-35 surrogate providing the cover which could insert the force more effectively.  Such an approach has NOTHING to do with the classic thinking of how a rotorcraft force would approach the challenge of ground force insertion into air enabled contested areas.

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Credit: Marine Corps Air Station Miramar / 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing:03/24/2014

  • In the first photo, Marines conduct patrols through the night during the Infantry Officer’s Course aboard San Clemente Island, Calif., Mar. 24. The Marines patrolled a total of 23 km before taking the final objective during the course.
  • In the second photo, Marines employ the Wasp Micro Air Vehicle to scout ahead to inform the Marines of potential threats during the Infantry Officer’s Course aboard San Clemente Island, Calif., Mar. 24.
  • In the third photo, 2nd Lt. Kyle Olson, an Infantry Officer’s Course student, utilizes a tablet to communicate with his Marines in real time during the Infantry Officer’s Course aboard San Clemente Island, Calif., Mar. 24. Olson patrolled with his Marines 23km before taking the final objective.