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Training, UAVs, Key To U.S. Army Aviation In The Field

Discussion in 'Military Forum' started by Metallic, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. Metallic

    Metallic SENIOR MEMBER

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    Washington DC (SPX) Jan 21, 2009

    Air Force officials are "all in" with regard to unmanned aircraft systems, and understand the Defense secretary's direction to field the systems in the combat theater as fully and quickly as possible, a senior leader said Jan. 12 here.
    Lt. Gen. Norman R. Seip, the commander of 12th Air Force and Air Forces Southern, also said the Air Force has 85 percent of its theater-level UAS capability deployed in support of operations in Southwest Asia.

    The other 15 percent are stateside to train UAS pilots and for operational test and development. The Air Force is doing all it can to speed up the UAS pilot training process, he added.

    "Next year, the Air Force will procure more unmanned aircraft than manned aircraft," the general said. "So I think that makes a very pointed statement about our commitment to the future of UAS and what it brings to the fight in meeting the requirements of combatant commanders."

    Additionally, he said, teams at the Air Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., are developing countermeasures for potential enemy use of unmanned aircraft systems.

    "When, in the future, we encounter a near-peer or asymmetric threat, or a terrorist organization that has the UAS capability, we're going to certainly need to be working toward active techniques so that we can counter those capabilities," General Seip said.

    These techniques will be essential for the Air Force to dominate airspace when needed and allow for freedom of maneuver for ground forces, the general explained.

    General Seip also updated the group on maintenance issues surrounding A-10 Thunderbolt II close-air-support fighter jets following a technical order issued in October requiring immediate inspection and repair of wing cracks in a portion of the A-10 fleet.

    Though 40 percent of thin-skinned A-10s are grounded, he said, 12th Air Force officials still are able to provide warfighters with the close-air support they need in the combat theater. Repairs should be completed by June, he said.

    General Seip noted 12th Air Force's busy pace in supporting the war on terrorism and continuing its ongoing mission as the air component for U.S. Southern Command.

    "It is an exciting time in both 12th Air Force and Air Forces Southern, as the Air Force continues to fight the long war on terrorism as well as support its 'soft-power' commitment in South (America), Central America and the Caribbean," he said.

    Archive picture of an American MQ-9 Reaper Hunter/Killer UAV:
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2009