Reports that the Gorgon Stare pod set isn’t working properly are overblown, Air Combat Command chief Gen. William Fraser said Thursday. The pod set, meant to vastly multiply the sensor take from MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft, is designed to collect wide-area surveillance imagery and “it is doing exactly that,” said Fraser Thursday in his speech at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition in Orlando, Fla. He continued, “Yes, we identified some issues and some challenges in operational . . . evaluation. But now we have fixes in place and crews are being trained, and we do not expect any delay in getting this capability forward to the theater. In fact, we are on track to deploy it next month.” Fraser said he’s sure that “we’ll learn more about it and its capability as we employ it in theater,” and after airmen have a chance to exploit its unanticipated uses.
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.