The Air Force is adding a laser targeting system to its MC-12W intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft, according to a release from Beale AFB, Calif., home of the MC-12 fleet. With this “buddy lase” capability, MC-12 aircrews will be able to illuminate ground targets to help guide laser-guided munitions released by strike platforms to the targets. “The new capability is extremely valuable,” said a pilot with Beale’s 489th Reconnaissance Squadron. “This specific capability has been requested by ground force commanders and close air support aircraft downrange,” he said. MC-12 aircrews, both those at home and those deployed in Afghanistan, are training on how to employ the system, states Beale’s Sept. 12 release. Once the crews are certified, it will become operational. “Laser targeting is just one more tool we can use to keep the warriors on the ground safe and to neutralize targets,” said another pilot with the 489th RS. (Beale report by A1C Bobby Cummings)
These are the complete remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Dec. 3, 2022, in Simi Valley, Calif.