Here’s what U.S Marine Corps Urban Close Air Support at a fake town in the Arizona desert looks like

Nov 16 2016 - 5 Comments

Some stunning photographs show U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venoms engaging targets at “Yodaville” during an urban close air support exercise.

The shots in this post were taken on Sept. 30, 2016, during an Urban Close Air Support exercise held during the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-7 hosted by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1).

Urban Close Air Support Day & Night

The WTI is a seven-week course was held at “Yodaville” near Yuma, Arizona, within the Urban Target Complex or R-2013-West, a “fake” town surrounded by terrain similar to that you can find in the Middle East or Asia that provides the most realistic target environment for pilot and ground controllers to improve their skills in CAS conducted in urban area.

Urban Close Air Support Day & Night

As the images show, the layout of Yodaville was designed in such a way it appears to be similar to villages in Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan.

Urban CAS (UCAS) is a specific kind of mission flown by fixed- and rotary-wing assets with the aim to assist friendly ground forces in contested urban areas. UCAS sorties are also launched as part of MOOTW (Military Operations Other Than War) to assist civilians during NEOs (Non-combatant Evacuation Operations), as happened in the past, in Saigon or Tirana.

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) engages targets during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

Training like WTI prepares aircrews to operate at low altitude in a small, possibly highly lethal airspace while cooperating with JTACs (Joint Tactical Air Controllers) that provide guidance to the helicopters so that these can properly engage the enemies, preventing blue-on-blue incidents.

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) engages targets during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) deploys flares during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venoms assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) engages targets during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

Those in the photographs are UH-1Y Venom choppers, a rebuilt and highly modified version of the famous UH-1 Huey. The UH-1Y, or “Yankee”, carries 12.7-mm or 7.62-mm machine guns, or 7.62-mm Gatling guns installed in the open doors on either side of the fuselage; it can also carry Hydra 70r rockets pods or APKWS laser guided anti-armor missiles, used for self-defense to soften-up enemy defenses before landing.

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) deploys flares during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) prepares to engage targets during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) engages targets during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) engages targets during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) engages targets during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venoms assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) engage targets during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps