After employing them in combat, Air Force Reserve Command’s 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo., lost its Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receivers to other deploying units, but it is now getting some of the new units USAF ordered. The highly popular ROVERs enhance the A-10’s LITENING-AT targeting pods, providing real-time ground target video to pilots and ground forces. Without ROVER, the controller on the ground must talk a pilot through the target and that, said 303rd Fighter Squadron Hog pilot Maj. Tony Roe, “can be long and painful.” With it, explained Roe, the Joint Terminal Attack Controller looking for close air support can “see on his display exactly what I’m seeing in the cockpit” and that results in “faster bombs on target.” And, he said, ROVER turns the A-10 into a non-traditional intelligence and surveillance source, enabling ground forces to keep track of action miles away. The wing’s 303rd FS is training for deployment to Afghanistan this spring. (AFRC report by Maj. David Kurle)
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.