A USAF task force on Mar. 6 employed a drone to perform a post-flight inspection for the first time on a C-17 Globemaster III at Edwards AFB, Calif. The 412th Test Wing’s Emerging Technologies Combined Test Force flew a commercial quadcopter equipped with a video camera around the exterior of the aircraft, and maintenance airmen from the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at JB Lewis McChord, Wash., are analyzing the film to determine whether it is clear enough to perform their routine search for structural aberrations. “This could save [maintainers] a lot of time,” said SSgt. Joshua Jaburek with the 62nd AMS, according to a press release. “When we go on top of the airplane, we can only walk on certain parts and then we have to hook and unhook our [safety harness] every few feet.” If successful, inspections that currently take 45 minutes could be completed in just a handful of minutes, and the drone would eliminate the need for a lift to inspect the tail of a C-17.
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.