According to the Air Force, nine out of 10 bombs and missiles fired in Southwest Asia have the advantage of support from live-streaming video seen by air crews and ground controllers alike, courtesy of Remote Operated Video enhanced Receiver (ROVER) links to cameras on close air support aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles. Ground controllers see the video on their laptops and can guide CAS to the target and provide instant battlefield assessment back to the pilot. As of this month, there are about 1,000—including Australian, British, Canadian, and US purchases—ROVER III models available, with more on order. (An earlier model also was used to support Hurricane Katrina recovery operations.)
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.