Maintenance airmen deployed from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., work hard to keep their B-1B bombers ready to deal with adversaries in the war on terror, according to journalist TSgt. Steven Wilson. Spurring the airmen on is CMSgt. Jim Sanders of Ellsworth’s 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, who regularly regales his maintainers with true tales from Army troops aided by B-1Bs. He wants to ensure they “never lose focus of why they’re here [in Southwest Asia].” Sanders also has a personal stake in bringing support to ground forces since his son serves with the 82nd Airborne.
The Collaborative Combat Aircraft will be operational in the late 2020s, several years before the Next-Generation Air Dominance family of systems, Air Force officials told the House Armed Services tactical aviation panel. The CCAs will first be “shooters,” then electronic warfare platforms, then sensors, in that order, they added.