Air Force officials accepted the service’s first MC-12W Project Liberty aircraft from Hawker Beechcraft March 19 in a ceremony at the company’s Kansas facility. The service wants to deploy this latest addition to its intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance arsenal in Southwest Asia by next month, according to Brig. Gen. Blair Hansen, USAF’s director of ISR capabilities, who talked with reporters about the concept in January. Joining Hansen at the ceremony was Lt. Gen. David Deptula, deputy chief of staff for ISR, who dubbed the aircraft “Liberty One” and said, “We’ll be taking this aircraft and turning it into a robust ISR collection system.” The MC-12W is based on the Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350—seven on the basic 350 and 30 more on the 350 Extended Range. He continued, “the MC-12W will provide a comprehensive signals and imagery intelligence collection capability that will be fielded in Southwest Asia as soon as possible. (Deptula remarks)
Unlike nearly every other innovative technology throughout history, Maj. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt believes the space enterprise emerged backward. “Every other domain started with an entrepreneur who built something,” Burt, the special assistant to the Chief of Space Operations, told an audience at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.