Tag Archives: Japan

Objective: Rapid Results

How the Air Force is Using Quickly Deployable Predator teams to Achieve Success

By George Jagels

MQ 1

Remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) have supported U.S. forces in major overseas operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Millions of hours have been flown by medium altitude long endurance (MALE) platforms such as the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper in support of ground troops, intelligence gathering missions, and precision strike operations. Just as the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review predicted, the demand for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) continues to rise, yet these platforms are slated for budget reductions.

The Air Force FY 15 budget cuts the number of combat air patrols from 65 to 55 while eventually phasing out the MQ-1. The U.S. drawdown from Afghanistan accounts for some of this decrease, as does a different mission set for the Asia-Pacific region, where airspace will likely be less favorable to slow, defenseless RPAs.

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Today’s Links

  • Time’s Battleland has an excellent obit for the USS Enterprise. After fifty years of service, the aircraft carrier is being retired. A sad day for some, but also comforting to know she worked hard and well for five decades.
  • The robotic mule is coming soon to a USMC squad near you! DARPA’s $54 million Legged Squad Support System (LS3), which mimics a mule, just completed a couple weeks of field testing and is no worse for the wear. Among many other great features, the LS3 can recharge batteries and follow basic commands (“sit!”).
  • In allies news, Japan will up its defense budget a bit, though it is still a very low share of GDP. Canada’s love-hate relationship with the F-35 continues to twist and turn: Ottawa claims it will have to use private companies and allies for mid-air refueling because it will not modify tankers for the job.
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