The Air Force Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle force that has operated in Southwest Asia for seven years now serves under new management but will continue fulfilling its high-operations tempo. The service formally inactivated the 12th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron on Nov. 1 at the unit’s SWA location and placed the RQ-4 UAV operation under the 99th ERS at the same location. The change unites the RQ-4 and U-2 manned reconnaissance aircraft in one unit. “The move will be seamless,” said Lt. Col. Kurt Carraway, 380th Expeditionary Operations Group deputy commander, heralding it as “transitioning into smarter operations while continuing to meet the air tasking order.” Col. Kyle Garland, commander of the 380th EOG, noted that the “very small” 12th ERS had a “very big responsibility.” Serving as the last head of the 12th ERS, Maj. Rob Matlock noted that over 120 days the unit has completed 110 missions, collecting intelligence on more than 45,000 targets, an average of about 400 targets per mission. Garland added that, during Matlock’s tenure, the deployed Global Hawk force—operators and maintainers—had “pushed the envelope quite a bit further.” The airmen who operate and maintain both these high-flying reconnaissance platforms call Beale AFB, Calif., home. (380th Air Expeditionary Wing report by Denise Johnson)
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.