Gen. William T. Hobbins, the new USAFE commander, told the AFA audience that a series of joint centers has been created. A joint fires center was established to train Europe-based personnel in demanding air control/air support procedures. A joint airpower competency center has to deal with numerous nations (some NATO members, some not) developing and flying hundreds of manned and unmanned aircraft systems, all put together without a plan to integrate their operations. In addition to working through this, Hobbins said the center is also studying NATO’s airlift needs. New NATO response forces don’t have enough airlift, even with nine NATO nations planning to buy the Airbus A400M, which will slot between the C-130 and the C-17 in size.
An Air Force C-17 transport jet recently tested a new technology that could help aviators stay on course even if the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) that much of modern-day aviation relies on is compromised.