A C-130 aircrew deployed from the 463rd Airlift Wing at Little Rock AFB, Ark., to the 777th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron at Balad AB, Iraq, performed the first use of the joint precision air drop system over Iraq on Feb. 16. The Hercules crew delivered six 1,200-pound bundles using the Air Force-Army GPS-guided JPADS. The first combat drop of the new system took place last year over Afghanistan. The joint development effort features Air Force software using an advanced weather model and Army steerable parachutes employing GPS satellite navigation data that enable the airlift crew to precisely deliver supplies from up to 25,000 feet altitude, providing faster and safer air drops. The JPADS development effort started in 1997.
A majority of panelists convened by the Atlantic Council to assess the situation in Ukraine believe that Russia will have enough forces—and recent practice in Belarus—to invade Ukraine within a month. A senior Air Force official concurred, saying the service expects the conflict soon.