On Dec. 19, a media channel posted a video showing a successful demonstration of the Rapid Dragon system. The U.S. Air Force used MC-130J “Super Hercules” airdrops carrying cruise missiles to hit the target. The cruise missile was removed from the tray during the test, flew to the correct location, and successfully hit the target.
Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company doing significant business with the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. federal government agencies. The company said Rapid Dragon is a fast-paced U.S. Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation (SDPE) program. It is a collaboration between the U.S. Air Force Laboratory and Lockheed Martin.
The Rapid Dragon was developed to turn a military transport aircraft, an MC-130J airdrop, into an air-launched missile system that offers strike capabilities. The advantage of the Rapid Dragon system is that the airdrop can still turn into a considerable bomber squadron of the U.S. Air Force in the shortest time without any modification. It can shorten the training process for allied forces using the same aircraft to support U.S. military battlefield deployments that entirely unpredictable to the enemy.
The video also shows that the AGM-158 JASSM long-range attack missile can be used in a live-fire battle, with a range of more than 1,000 km. Therefore, if there is a conflict between the United States and China, transport aircraft can take off from Guam or Hawaii. Almost all of China’s coastal strongholds are within range when using the Rapid Dragon system. This could completely change the form of warfare in the future.
Information from the video also adds that, in early 2022, the U.S. C-17 Globe Master transport aircraft will be used to test live ammunition. The U.S. Air Force is expected to transform the U.S. Air Force airdrop into a lethal strike weapon when needed within the next two years.