Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, was the brains behind the quick operational fielding of the new MQ-9 Reaper hunter-killer unmanned aerial vehicle. Laura McGowan reports that ASC working with Air Combat Command accelerated fielding the new UAV by two years earlier than originally planned to meet a request from then ACC commander, Gen. Ron Keys. (The Reaper began flying missions over Afghanistan last month.) ASC personnel shepherded the UAV through the Integrated System Exercise 1 to demonstrate operational readiness. The Reaper team is working through ISE 2 now in preparation for initial operational test and evaluation. Once the system completes IOT&E, it can go into full rate production.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.