Airmen with the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing at Langley AFB, Va., participated in Empire Challenge 10, a distributed, joint and coalition demonstration designed to improve ISR interoperability and showcase new technology that could meet warfighters’ near-term needs. More than 30 new capabilities were put through the paces from late July through mid August, with the goal of delivering them to commanders in Afghanistan if they proved successful. “You can go out on a limb and take risks during an exercise that you wouldn’t dare try in a real-world operation,” said 1st Lt. Josh Cutino, mission operations commander with Langley’s 30th Intelligence Squadron. The Langley airmen used the Distributed Common Ground System as the tool for integrating the technologies during the exercise. DCGS is a worldwide network of hubs from which analysts exploit imagery and signals intelligence and then disseminate intelligence to troops at tactical levels. (Langley release)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.