Beyond CAP Fixation

Around April or May, USAF expects to field the first of its new Gorgon Stare wide-area surveillance pods on its MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft that patrol the skies over Afghanistan looking for Taliban insurgents on the ground. The pods’ introduction will have a dramatic impact on the overall capacity of the Air Force to provide overhead imagery in support of US and coalition ground forces there, Lt. Gen. David Deptula, the Air Staff’s intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance director, told defense reporters Wednesday in Washington, D.C. With the pod, the same MQ-9 aircraft that today each provide one streaming video feed will each be able to deliver 10 simultaneous feeds of different items within their scope of view, explained Deptula. Essentially, independent of an increase in overall platform numbers, the Air Force is still “vastly increasing the output” of ISR support with the Gorgon Stare pods, he said. Continue