Newport News, VA and Tuscon, AZ Should Seek New Opportunities with USAF $3B Drone Expansion Plan

UAV-Reaper-Drone

The Air Force wants to vastly expand its drone program over the next five years by doubling the number of pilots and deploying them to bases around the country to give commanders better intelligence and more firepower.

Tucson’s Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — which stands to lose its biggest mission amid efforts to retire the A-10 ground-attack jet — is mentioned as a possible site for expanded drone operations.

Besides Davis-Monthan, those considered most likely sites for the program include Beale Air Force Base near Sacramento, California; Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam near Honolulu; and Langley Air Force Base near Newport News, Virginia.

The $3 billion drone expansion plan, which must be approved by Congress, was unveiled Thursday after months of study that focused on a drone pilot force that commanders have described as overworked, undermanned and under appreciated.

SOURCE | More..

Air Force proposes $3-billion plan to vastly expand its drone program

graph

The Air Force wants to vastly expand its drone program over the next five years by doubling the number of pilots and deploying them to bases in California and elsewhere to give commanders better intelligence and more firepower.

The $3-billion plan, which must be approved by Congress, was unveiled Thursday after months of study that focused on a drone pilot force that commanders have described as overworked, undermanned and underappreciated.

The proposed expansion comes as the Pentagon has intensified airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. Pilots and crews who operate the MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers have struggled to meet a rising demand for aerial surveillance of war zones and other hot spots.

“Right now, 100% of the time, when a MQ-1 or MQ-9 crew goes in, all they do is combat,” said Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command, which oversees drone operations. “So we really have to build the capacity.”

SOURCE | More..

USAF buys more Block 30 GCS.. spinning up for increased Combat Air Patrols

Predator-Ground-Control-Station

General Atomics – Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, California, has been awarded a $32,326,408 delivery order (0010) to previously awarded contract FA8620-15-G-4040 for Block 30 ground control station production undefinitized contract action effort.

Work will be performed at Poway, California, and is expected to be complete by June 30, 2018. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2015 aircraft procurement funds in the amount of $16,151,200 are being obligated at the time of award.

SOURCE | More..

Former Airmen, with PTSD, Denounce Drone Program.. Self Described Whistleblowers

cockpit

Former Air Force airmen are speaking out against America’s use of drone warfare, calling the military drone program “morally outrageous” and “one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.”

In interviews with NBC News, three former servicemen — who together have 15 years of military drone experience — decried the civilian cost of drone strikes and called on President Obama to “turn this around” before he leaves office.

“We were very callous about any real collateral damage,” said Michael Haas, 29, who worked as both a drone operator and instructor. “Whenever that possibility came up, most of the time it was a ‘guilt by association’ or sometimes we didn’t even consider other people that were on screen.”

SOURCE | More..

San Diego Air & Space Museum Honors GA-ASI Executives with Hall of Fame Induction

RR-Frank-Pace-QA-1

Admiral Cassidy

Frank Pace, Tom Cassidy Inducted into International Air & Space Hall of Fame

SAN DIEGO – 25 November 2015 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions, today announced that Frank W. Pace, GA-ASI’s current Aircraft Systems president, and Thomas J. Cassidy, former Aircraft Systems president, have been inducted into the San Diego International Air & Space Museum’s Hall of Fame for their bold contributions to the RPA industry, fortifying the company’s status within an elite top tier of global defense contractors.

“Frank Pace and Tom Cassidy have forever changed the landscape of the aerospace industry through their tireless efforts to create game-changing, state-of-the-art RPA systems, and both are pivotal players in the company’s continued worldwide success,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “On behalf of GA-ASI, I thank them for their ongoing contributions to warfighters around the world who rely on our products for their unparalleled situational awareness and life-saving capabilities.”

Frank Pace has overseen approximately 70-percent of the flight hours accumulated by company aircraft in the last five years. This milestone serves as testament to the visionary leadership he has provided over the course of his 24-year career with GA-ASI. Pace’s impact to the success of the organization can be measured by the successful conceptualization, development, and delivery of Predator® and Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper® to the U.S. Air Force; development and delivery of Altair® to NASA; entry into production of Predator C Avenger®, and development and production of Predator XP. The success of these aircraft has resulted in the dramatic expansion of both the company’s domestic and international customer base, which includes NASA, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, UK, Italy, France, and the UAE. It is noteworthy to mention that in addition to his applied leadership in aircraft development, Pace has led numerous key demonstrations, including the implementation of RPA satellite communications (SATCOM), Predator Hellfire missiles, and Sky Warrior® and Gray Eagle for the U.S. Army.

Rear Admiral Thomas Cassidy (Ret., U.S. Navy) has left a legacy at GA-ASI that is enduring and has set a solid course for the company’s current success. His specific efforts have established GA-ASI as the global leader in RPA systems. Predator/Gray Eagle-series aircraft have been accepted by U.S. and foreign governments into everyday operations and have revolutionized the way the U.S. military fights wars and defends the homeland. During Cassidy’s tenure, he was instrumental in establishing a strong corporate culture that promoted quality, leadership, and entrepreneurship. These attributes established the foundation which can be measured by the current success of GA-ASI operations, including design, manufacturing, training, and support activities of the organization’s RPA programs. Of specific note, Cassidy led the development of the MQ-9 Reaper® and Avenger which are in the U.S. inventory and operationally supporting U.S. interests worldwide. Cassidy retired from the day-to-day management of the Aircraft Systems business unit in March 2010 but remains on the company’s Board of Directors as Chairman of its Executive Committee.

“The significant contributions that Mr. Pace and Mr. Cassidy have made over the span of their impressive aerospace careers have transformed the global RPA industry, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum is proud to induct them into our International Air & Space Hall of Fame,” said Jim Kidrick, president and CEO, San Diego Air & Space Museum. “Through their efforts, GA-ASI continues to push the envelope into new frontiers, successfully creating cutting-edge capabilities to protect U.S. and allied forces in combat, support homeland defense, and expand the RPA market worldwide.”

The International Air & Space Hall of Fame represents the commemoration of those, who throughout history and around the world, have made a significant difference and whose contributions are worthy of special recognition. The list of previous honorees are some of the world’s most significant aviation pilots, crew members, visionaries, inventors, aerospace engineers, businessmen, designers, spokesmen, and space pioneers. Previous inductees include Orville and Wilbur Wright, Howard Hughes, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Yeager, and Buzz Aldrin.