Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course 1-19, MCAS Yuma
The Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) is hosted by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS1) at MCAS Yuma, Arizona. It involves planning and implementation of advanced air and ground tactics though a series of escalating evolutions to create the next generation of instructor.
Frontline Aviation were given exclusive access to the
AV-8B Harrier II aircraft performing during the exercise and course.
The AV8B Harrier, with its complement of
advanced precision guided weapons,
advanced LITENING targeting pod, and
beyond visual range air to air missiles
provides relevant and lethal capability to the
Marine Corps. As a vertical/short takeoff and
landing (VSTOL) aircraft, the AV 8B continues
to provide TACAIR basing flexibility to the
MAGTF. As the Harrier transitions out of the
Fleet Marine Force, its amphibious VSTOL
role is being filled by the STOVL F 35B.
AV8B squadrons and detachments continue
to execute deployed operations on MEUs As
an enduring mission they maintain 6 to 12
aircraft deployed on MEUs with 6 to 12
aircraft in workup.
The AV8B’s lethality and VSTOL capability,
combined with the ARG’s proximity to littoral
targets, rapid turnaround time, and hot
reloading of weapons, provide unique
capability to the deployed MEU.
The AV8B Harrier supports the MAGTF
commander by destroying surface targets and
escorting friendly aircraft, day or night, under
all weather conditions, during expeditionary,
joint, or combined operations.
•Empty weight: 14,912 pounds
•Max gross weight: 32,000 pounds
•Payload (fuel plus ordnance) : 17,000 pounds
•Speed (cruise/max): 360 kts / 585 kts
•Weapons Stations: Seven (4 pylons Digital ITER capable)
•Armament: 500 and 1000 pound
JDAM/LJDAM, JSOW, laser guided, and
general purpose bombs; CBU 99/100; CBU
78; MK 77; 2.75” and 5.0” rockets;
Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System
(APKWS); AGM 65E/E2; AIM 120B; AIM
9M; GAU 12 25mm gun
•Sensors: APG 65 RADAR, AN/AAQ 28LITENING Pod Gen 4, Integrated NAVFLIR,Dual Mode Tracker
•Network Systems: Automatic TargetHandoff System/VMF (digitally aided CAS),LITENING C band video downlink, LINK 16
•ASE/EW: ALE 47 ECM, ALR 67v2 RWR, ALQ164 DECM Pod, Intrepid Tiger I
Notional Mission Profile
•Range/Time on Station (TOS)‐ 200nm
transit, 1+00 TOS, 200nm RTB
•Loadout‐ (3) 500# PGM (JDAM/LGB), (7)
2.75” APKWS rockets, (300) 25mm,
External Fuel Tanks, LITENING POD
AV8B HARRIER (VMA) PLAN
Marine Corps AV8B squadrons function as an integral unit or as a squadron with a deployed six aircraft detachment. This concept facilitates dual site operations, provides for the support of simultaneous contingencies, and allows for the fulfillment of continuous Unit Deployment Program requirements. The USMC maintains four active operational squadrons comprised of 14 AV8B aircraft each and an FRD comprised of AV8B and TAV8B aircraft. The Marine Corps will maintain four operational squadrons until FY22. West Coast VMAs complete transition to F35 in 3rd quarter FY22; the East Coast maintains operations until FY27.
Sustainment of the AV8B program is focused on maintaining readiness
through the end of service Airframe fatigue life and flight line inventory are not a current problem, and are not forecast to be through the transition to F35.
The AV8B Harrier has long been the Marine
Corps’ only fixed wing TACAIR on MEUs;
now, with the advent of F 35B deployed
with the MEU, Harrier is sharing the MEU
TACAIR mission. As a strike, long range
escort, and air defense asset of the MEU
ACE, the AV 8B must continue to develop
and address future capability gaps that will
allow it to conduct its METS until sundown.
This evolution over the next five years will
- Avionics and software upgrades (LINK-16,
RNP/RNAV, Mode 5/S)
- Weapons modernization (AIM 9X Block II,
AIM 120C, APKWS warhead and envelope
expansion, precision stand off weapons)
- Digital interoperability (LITENING ATDL,
VMF, KY 58 VACM)
- Readiness (PRE/PRL, F402 engine
safety/reliability, FOD programs)