Weapons and Kit

Watch: US airdrops cruise missile from aircraft in Europe for first time

The US has airdropped a cruise missile from an aircraft for the first time in Europe.  

The test happened inside the Arctic Circle at the remote Andoya Space Defence Range in Norway.

It involved a US Air Force MC-130J Hercules Commando aircraft dropping a Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM).

This cruise missile, known as Rapid Dragon, is dropped from the Hercules cargo hold on a pallet.

Footage released by the US military shows after the pallet detaches, wings extend from inside the missile and it carries out its mission.

It's believed the Rapid Dragon has a range of more than 570 miles. The system is thought to have been previously tested in the Gulf of Mexico late last year.

This delivery technique from a Hercules dates back to the Vietnam War when these aircraft dropped 15,000lb BLU-82 bombs known as Daisy Cutters.

The advantage of using this sort of aircraft is that it can land on short rugged airstrips which gives considerable deployment flexibility.