Air Combat Command chief Gen. Ronald Keys, plugging the Air Force’s push to be executive agent for all the Pentagon’s high-flying unmanned aerial vehicles, said there’s “no good reason” why the sensors on Army and Air Force UAVs should be different, since they feed a common network that mostly wants the same kind of information. Having different sensors is just one of the elements that USAF leaders believe add unnecessary development and support costs, he told reporters at a press conference at Bolling AFB, D.C., earlier this week. Keys also warned that unless one service—his—is in charge of orchestrating UAVs, midair collisions with manned aircraft and “frequency fratricide” of jamming each other’s communications is inevitable. The Army and friends, of course, take a different view.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.