MC-12 in Afghanistan

The first Air Force MC-12W intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance aircraft destined for operations in Afghanistan arrived Dec. 27 at Bagram Airfield. That same day, Bagram’s 455th Air Expeditionary Wing stood up the 4th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, which will operate the twin-engine turboprop aircraft. “Knowledge is power and that is what we provide,” said Lt. Col. Douglas Lee, the new unit’s commander. Such knowledge, he added, “will help protect Afghans, provide security, and protect coalition lives.” The MC-12 provides real-time full-motion video to ground troops and also collects signals intelligence. By late summer 2010, the Air Force expects to have 24 MC-12s operating in Afghanistan out of a force of 30 combat-ready airframes. The other six are already operating in Iraq out of Joint Base Balad. In addition to those 30, there will be another seven MC-12s based stateside that are dedicated to training. (Bagram report by TSgt. John Jung)