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9/23/2020 3:47:02 PM
Posted: 3/10/2010 4:11:12 AM EDT
24 cadets receive Academy's first UAS-RPA wings
http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?storyID=3D123193882

by Staff Sgt. Don Branum
U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFNS) –– Four junior and 20 sophomore U.S.
Air Force Academy cadets received the first unmanned aerial systems-remotely
piloted aircraft wings awarded in the school's 55-year history during a
function at the Dean's Heritage House Feb. 25, here.

Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, the Academy superintendent and Brig. Gen. Dana Born,
the dean of the faculty, presented cadets with certificates and UAS-RPA
scarves during the event.

"I'm thrilled to recognize the first class of cadets to graduate from
Airmanship 200, Airmanship 201, and Airmanship 202 and become the catapult
leaders for the UAS-RPA program at the Air Force Academy," General Born
said. "You are all pioneers."

Cadets dined and spoke with Generals Gould and Born as well as other leaders
in attendance.

"I've been with RPA's since the beginning," General Gould said. "At first,
it was tough going until we realized what a tremendous impact they could
have on the application of airpower. Now, we can't build them fast enough to
satisfy demand."

The Air Force's role in that history began in the mid to late 1990s,
awarding General Atomics a contract to build the first MQ-1 Predators for
$3.2 million apiece.

Teams with the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron at Indian Springs Air Station
(now Creech AFB), Nev., flew Predators during Operation Allied Force in
1999. RPA mission frequency stepped up during Operation Enduring Freedom in
October 2001 as Air Force officials started deploying Predators in greater
numbers to gather intelligence.

"Back then, we were doing good to get two Predators in the air for 20 hours
a day," General Gould said.

The number of RPA missions leaped after Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates
demanded more ISR capability from the Air Force in June 2008. Today, the Air
Force flies approximately 40 combat air patrols, or CAPS, 24 hours a day,
seven days a week, primarily over Iraq and Afghanistan to provide persistent
reconnaissance and strike capability.

The Air Force is programmed to go to 50 CAPs and may go as high as 65, said
Maj. Gen. James Poss, the director of Air Force intelligence, surveillance,
and reconnaissance strategy, integration, and doctrine at the Pentagon.

"I'd tell you that you're the wave of the future, but you're not; you're the
wave of the present," the general said. "That's the kind of impact you're
going to have."

Cadet 2nd Class Jeff Nakayama, a native of Warner Robins, Ga., is one of the
four juniors forming the Academy's instructor pilot cadre and an economics
major with Cadet Squadron 34. He first found out about the Academy's UAS-RPA
program through Cadet 2nd Class Bradley Sapper, an astronautical engineering
major with CS 03.

"They were looking for people to head up leadership in a brand-new [UAS-RPA]
program," said Cadet Nakayama.

"I said, 'You know what? Let's see what happens' and it took off from
there," he said.

The instructor pilots visited Nellis AFB and Creech AFB, in the summer of
2009 to learn more about RPAs in the operational Air Force.

"It was an interesting experience, seeing the operational side and watching
Airmen actually conduct a mission out there," Cadet Nakayama said. "We were
able to go through the program first, experiment, and spend a little more
time on the airplane than the 2012 cadets did and we got to teach them,
which was the biggest challenge and learning experience."

The UAS-RPA program will take another step forward next year when the
Academy acquires a Scan Eagle, a 40-pound unmanned aircraft that launches
from a hydraulic system similar to the catapult systems on aircraft carriers
and lands using a skyhook and Global Positioning System guidance.

"Everyone's going to be learning again," Cadet Nakayama said.

And while the four Class of 2011 cadets will go into Air Force history as
the Academy's first RPA instructor pilots, Cadet Nakayama said the real
catapult leaders will be cadet instructors from future classes.

"I think it's going to be more the [classes of] 2012 and 2013 who really
take off with the program, set it in full force, and expand it to what
General Gould, General Born, and General McCarthy envision," he said.
Link Posted: 3/10/2010 4:16:26 AM EDT
Too bad they will probably never see the inside of a real cockpit.....
Link Posted: 3/10/2010 4:23:37 AM EDT
Ther has been the "Bomber Mafia" and the "Fighter Mafia" in the past...I wonder if this is the birth of the "UnManned Mafia"....
Link Posted: 3/10/2010 4:25:10 AM EDT
Originally Posted By P2:
Too bad they will probably never see the inside of a real cockpit.....


Not necessarily bad...
Link Posted: 3/10/2010 4:32:26 AM EDT
Won't this chap a lot of "real" pilots?
Link Posted: 3/10/2010 5:11:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/10/2010 6:25:44 AM EDT by KILLERB6]
Originally Posted By Silence:
Ther has been the "Bomber Mafia" and the "Fighter Mafia" in the past...I wonder if this is the birth of the "UnManned Mafia"....


This.

The USAF has made some big mistakes in the past shifting heavily to one form of air combat over another...the demise of CAS as we know it is another one.

Just ask any grunt what he wants overhead...drone OR an Apache or a Kiowa...hell, even an A-10 will do in an emergency.

Link Posted: 3/10/2010 5:16:09 AM EDT
Better that they take this approach and get people who want to fly UAVs, versus putting a guy through flight school who wants to fly for real and then having him get assigned to fly drones.
Link Posted: 3/10/2010 5:29:09 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ecgRN:
Won't this chap a lot of "real" pilots?


No.
Link Posted: 3/10/2010 6:00:35 AM EDT
Originally Posted By KILLERB6:
Originally Posted By Silence:
Ther has been the "Bomber Mafia" and the "Fighter Mafia" in the past...I wonder if this is the birth of the "UnManned Mafia"....


This.

The USAF has made some big mistakes in the past shifting heavily to one form of air combat over another...the demise of CAS as we know it is another one.

Just ask any grunt what he wants overhead...drone or Apache or a Kiowa...hell, even an A-10 will do in an emergency.


And he'll say he wants a Marine F/A-18 overhead.
Link Posted: 3/10/2010 6:08:31 AM EDT
Originally Posted By P2:
Too bad they will probably never see the inside of a real cockpit.....


Where in the article did it say that they applied to be pilots of manned aircraft? Where did it say they will be denied the opportunity to apply to fly piloted aircraft? Where did it say this is something they were forced to do? Where did it say these cadets are not where they want to be?

Better to get those who want vs. those who don't.


Link Posted: 3/10/2010 8:13:45 AM EDT
There are worse jobs for a USAF officer than drone pilot........
Link Posted: 3/10/2010 8:16:28 AM EDT



Originally Posted By KILLERB6:



Originally Posted By Silence:

Ther has been the "Bomber Mafia" and the "Fighter Mafia" in the past...I wonder if this is the birth of the "UnManned Mafia"....




This.



The USAF has made some big mistakes in the past shifting heavily to one form of air combat over another...the demise of CAS as we know it is another one.



Just ask any grunt what he wants overhead...drone OR an Apache or a Kiowa...hell, even an A-10 will do in an emergency.





Not a soldier but I'd want the AC-130, a few Apaches, an A10 or two and maybe a strike eagle so help gets there fast.



 
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