Rated to Fly: The Predator and Reaper operators that the Air Forces wants to churn out of its new UAV pilot training program starting next year (see below) will not be rated pilots in the service’s traditional sense of the phrase, but they will be qualified to fly and operate these multi-mission platforms safely and effectively, including in civil airspace, Brig. Gen. Darrell Jones, director of force management policy on the Air Staff, said Tuesday at AFA’s Air & Space Conference. During a briefing with reporters, Jones said the UAV operators that the Air Force has used to date have been rated pilots who have graduated from specialized undergraduate pilot training and are qualified to operate a certain type of manned platform such as an F-16.Under one facet of a new program, Jones said officers of various career fields and experience levels—but not flight experience—up through the rank of captain would be trained as UAV operators. The Air Force “will work the FAA issues” so that the new crop of UAV pilots “are able to operate the Predators in national airspace and meet all of the requirements that the FAA and international organizations would impose upon anyone who flies an aircraft of that size in their airspace,” he said. In the past, the Air Force has used only rated officers to operate its larger sized, multi-mission UAVs like Predator and Reaper since instrument-qualified pilots were necessary to fly in FAA- and ICAO-controlled airspace. Further, the Air Force held the view that rated officers were better prepared to deal with the demands of operating these complex systems under difficult battlefield conditions, including flying in proximity to manned aircraft and employing weapons in time-sensitive scenarios.
Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. provided a keynote address at AFA's virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference on Sept. 14, 2020. Here is a transcript of his speech and the following interview with Air Force Magazine Editor-in-Chief Tobias Naegele.
The "Industry Perspectives: How to Align Private Sector with Requirements of the USSF" panel held as part of the Air Force Association's virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference featured a discussion with Tory Bruno, Bruce Chesley, Blake Larson, and Rick Ambrose.
This video features Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Matthew P. Donovan's "Strategic Plan for Personnel and Readiness" session from the Air Force Association's virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference.
This video captures a panel entitled "An Effects-Based Approach to Force Structure Decisions: A Mitchell Institute Session" featuring Lt. Gen. David S. Nahom, Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote, Lt. Gen. William J. Liquori, Jr., and William LaPlante from the Air Force Association's virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference.
This video captures the panel entitled "The Right Mix of Stand-in/Stand-off Capability: A Mitchell Institute Session" with Gen. Timothy M. Ray, Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach, and Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian that was held during the Air Force Association's virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference.
Sept. 30, 2020
"The New Ops Normal for Families" panel at the Air Force Association's 2020 virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference featured Sharene Brown, wife of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.; Mollie Raymond, wife of Space Force Chief of Space Operations John W. "Jay" Raymond; Rahn Bass,…
Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett provided a keynote address at AFA's virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference on Sept. 14, 2020. Here is a transcript of that speech.
Sept. 30, 2020
Chief Master Sgt. Nathaniel M. Perry Jr., Chief Master Sgt. Mary Polanco, Chief Master Sgt. Brian P. Kruzelnick, and Chief Master Sgt. Tony Whitehead joined a discussion on "Leading During a Pandemic: What Our Airmen Need to Excel" during the Air Force Association's virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference. The…
Sept. 30, 2020
An MQ-9 on Sept. 10 doubled its missile capacity, carrying eight AGM-114 Hellfires for the first time, thanks to a new software upgrade. The 556th Test and Evaluation Squadron flew the Reaper at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., demonstrating the new capability, which is part of the MQ-9 Operational Flight…