The Air Force now has four Gorgon Stare sensor pods in flight test, Maj. Richard Johnson, spokesman in USAF headquarters for intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance matters, tells the Daily Report. The service is gearing up to operate these pods on MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft supporting ground troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Each of these four initial Gorgon Stare pods is an increment 1 system, capable of providing 10 simultaneous overhead video feeds. Today, the Reaper’s camera provides a single image stream. The next set of three pods is expected to enter the inventory between September and December, followed by another set of three pods in the first quarter of 2011, says Johnson. Those two sets will be increment II pods that are each capable of 30 simultaneous imagery feeds. (For more on Gorgon Stare, read Afghanistan and ISR and Beyond CAP Fixation.)
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.