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NEWS | April 7, 2021

SOCEUR completes HIRAIN training exercise at RAF Mildenhall, enhancing lethality in close coordination with USMC HIMARS

By Capt. Kevyn Kaler 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

RAF MILDENHALL, United Kingdom – The 352d Special Operations Wing from RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom conducted High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), Rapid Aerial Insertion (HIRAIN) training with Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 24-30 March, 2021. As part of a series of interoperability training opportunities, Air Commandos and Marines paired HIMARS long-range, precision-strike and MC-130J austere environment, infiltration/exfiltration capabilities to highlight another lethal, rapid response tool for employment by United States European Command (USEUCOM).

“This training provided another invaluable opportunity for special operations forces to synchronize with USEUCOM component counterparts in support of increasing lethal combat capabilities,” said Col. Nathan L. Owendoff, the 352 SOW commander. “In this training, Air Commandos and Marines successfully proved the seamless partnership to employ long-range, precision-strike capabilities while providing another flexible option for European Command operations.”

During the week’s training, the joint team executed a simulated combat mission that revalidated the rapid ability to infiltrate a simulated denied area, insert the HIMARS, conduct simulated fires, and then exfiltrate the HIMARS from the location. This training integrated joint force tactics, techniques and procedures building interoperability and readiness for Special Operations Command-Europe and Naval Forces Europe assets. This training also demonstrated the importance of integration between conventional and special operations forces and underscores how SOF enhances the lethality of conventional weapons systems.

The MC-130J Commando II conducts low visibility, single or multi-ship, low-level infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces, by airdrop or air-land and air refueling missions for special operations helicopters and tiltrotor aircraft, infiltrating denied, austere or hostile territories.

HIMARS is intended to engage and defeat artillery, air defense concentrations, trucks, and light armor and personnel carriers, as well as support troop and supply concentrations. The Marine Corps is also increasing its experimentation with HIMARS in order to support U.S. and allied naval operations by employing the system against adversary targets at sea. The system launches its weapons and moves away from the area at high speed before enemy forces locate the launch site. The rocket launcher provides close- and long-range precision rocket and missile fire support for joint forces, early-entry expeditionary forces, contingency forces and field artillery brigades supporting various combat teams.

These components will continue to conduct HIRAIN training in various locations within the theater to integrate with joint and regional forces, enhancing allies and partners with this long-range, precision strike capability throughout Europe. The 352 SOW’s mission is to execute full spectrum, multi-domain, specialized aviation and ground combat operations to enable the Joint Force.