Much was made recently about malware that made its way onto computers supporting remotely piloted aircraft operators at Creech AFB, Nev. But the issue wasn’t really that serious, according to US Strategic Command Commander Gen. Robert Kehler. The so-called attack actually was a virus that only affected support elements of a ground control station, not any RPAs, Kehler told defense reporters Tuesday in Washington, D.C. The virus “entered ‘from the wild,'” probably in the process of a manual change-out of a hard drive, he said. Protocols restricting thumb drives have been in place for a year, but Kehler said forensics are still under way to uncover how the virus entered the system. Still, the tools in place to detect the virus worked as intended, and no damage was done, he said. “We were able to quarantine the virus fairly quickly,” he noted.
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.