No B-52, But We’ll Take OC-135

According to Gen. Norton Schwartz, USAF Chief of Staff, Joint Task Force Unified Response turned down USAF’s proffer of a Sniper-equipped B-52 to help with Haiti relief efforts. He made the comment Wednesday at a Washington, D.C., conference to illustrate that the Air Force must be ready to employ unlikely assets in a variety of roles. The Sniper pod enables the B-52 to provide “unreal” target imagery, according to one test official. Meanwhile, the Haiti effort has employed a USAF OC-135B, known as an Open Skies aircraft and used to surveil military capabilities for treaty verifications. The OC-135B, part of the 55th Wing at Offutt AFB, Neb., staged from Andrews AFB, Md., for a 3.5-hour mission Jan. 16 over Haiti and then flew to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, where technicians turned its film into digital images. (Andrews report by Capt. Rebecca Garcia, with Air Force Reserve Command’s 459th Air Refueling Wing)