Skip to comments.Gates Sends More Predators, Reapers To Centcom
Posted on 06/16/2008 3:57:27 PM PDT by Yo-Yo
In the wake of the U.S. Air Force leadership shake up, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is directing the service to field six more Predator combat air patrols (CAPs), as well as more Reapers to support operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The order comes shortly after Gates first briefing from the new Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Task Force June 6. He set up the task force in April, explaining during a speech at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., that getting warfighting support from institutional military namely, the Air Force was like pulling teeth.
A lack of support for the ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was one of several reasons cited by insiders and observers for his abrupt ousting of Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley.
While DOD is looking across the services for ISR support, the Air Forces immediate task is to field more Predators and Reapers, which provide much-desired full-motion video to operators on the ground. The Air Force has fielded 25 Predator MQ-1B CAPs each including four air vehicles plus ground control and support as of this month. Gates is directing that six more be fielded by December, a military official says.
One additional MQ-9 Reaper CAP will go to Central Command as well. The service can provide the support without buying additional hardware; the major change will be how it allocates trained crews.
Industry, meanwhile, is compiling copious options for the task force. Goodrich is preparing to begin flight testing its latest upgrade to the Senior-Year Electro-Optical Reconnaissance System, Syers-3, this summer. Syers-3 will be used during a summer 2009 demonstration funded by a fiscal 2008, $16 million congressional plus-up to the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS). The concept is to co-host the moving target indictor capability of the Joint STARS radar as well as the electro-optical imagery of Syers on the same platform. Rules of engagement typically call for an image of the target from a camera not a synthetic radar image before launching weapons.
Now, if Joint STARS picks up something, theyve got to bring in a second sensor to look at it, says Bill Lennox, Washington-based senior vice president for Goodrich. That requires, in some cases, waiting for another aircraft to maneuver within range of the target. With a camera onboard, Once you pick up movement [with the radar], turning a camera on it gives you the ability to identify what is going on...and it shortens the targeting timeline. This is similar to the concept behind the simultaneous carriage of multiple sensors on the U-2.
Goodrich also is proposing a Syers derivative, the DB-110, on the Air Forces growing fleet of MQ-9 Reapers. One military official said Central Commands air component commander, Lt. Gen. Gary North, has expressed interest in the project.
At least someone is acting as if there is a war going on.
These armed Preditors are not giving the bad guys any sleep. The stress level has got to be high on the other side when 24/7 you’re aware that some eye in the sky is about to lay down the thunder.
Good for Gates, that was fast.
I love the headlines! Gates seems to be a non-pc, no-nonsense kind of guy when it comes to warfare. He’s more concerned about enemy body count instead of the “will the media attack me if did this?’ mentality. Love it.
Thank you, God.
Someone finally has put the Air Force in a position to fight offensively and not just transport, fly CAP, and look great on power point.
This is similar to the A-10 Warthog. The bastard children of the Air Force, but dang if you ever heard that "Brrrrrrrruuuppp"- and see earth, metal, wood, rubber, asphalt, sand, hair, teeth, all turned into a fine dust.... it's a sight. Soldiers.... real soldiers, use whatever is EFFECTIVE in a war.
The beauty of the Predator or UAV is the fact that you can't see it. So those of you that have had the pleasure of being sniped can attest to the vague weirdness that someone's reticle is on your face or neck.
Well the muzzies have to deal with the fact that wherever they are, in any vehicle, on any road and in any house..... they've got a video or a laser sweeping them.
Makes me actually kind of ....... froggy. I'd just love to find a little place, high up with satcom, some optics, night vision and a laser. ......
I swear, I wouldn't even take a rifle...if you give me one or two weeks just hanging out and hunting.
The only caveat would be, I got to have any Predator or UAV patrolling my boxes, to be on call 24/7.
I'm thinking there are thousands of kids playing XBOX 360 online that are training themselves to be the next flight officers for us.
Makes me warm and fuzzy.
here are some of the Air Forces "ready reservists" for the next Predator squadron.
They must be stationed in "Fort Living Room".
I read there was a plan to convert the next generation of military vehicles to game control operation.