Equipment procured for Air Force Reserve Command units under the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account is making a difference in Afghanistan today and has saved lives, said Lt. Gen. Charles Stenner, Air Force Reserve chief. Fitting the Smart Multi-Function Color Display on AFRC—and Air National Guard—HH-60 rescue helicopters is an example, Stenner told the House Armed Services Committee’s tactical air and land forces panel last week. “This NGREA effort directly contributed to saving 331 lives and 268 assists” during operations in Afghanistan, he said. The display “has been priceless” by “allowing the aircrew to receive survivor information while airborne without using precious satellite communications assets that need to be used elsewhere in theater,” he explained. Its presence has resulted in “more accurate and expeditious treatment of our wounded,” he said. Stenner noted that it took less than 20 months from contract award in September 2009 until the display was in use in Afghanistan.
After a long period in which munitions were almost an afterthought and sacrificed to pay for other priorities, the Air Force needs to focus on them in order to have the right “package” of capabilities for future conflicts, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said June 7.