USAF Academy UAS Program Continues To Mature | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

** Airborne 10.29.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 10.29.14 **
** Airborne 10.27.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 10.27.14 **
** Airborne/NBAA2014 10.24.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne/NBAA2014 10.24.14 **

Fri, Aug 03, 2012

USAF Academy UAS Program Continues To Mature

Program Started In 2009

Cadets participating in Expeditionary Survival and Evasion Training aren't alone. Throughout the day, winged guardians watch over them, protecting them from harm.

The guardians are Aerosonde Mark IV remotely piloted aircraft, operated by cadet pilots in the 557th Flying Training Squadron facility adjacent to the Academy Airfield. The setup there, with stations and monitors set up to resemble the Combined Air and Space Operations Center in Southwest Asia, symbolizes how far the Academy's unmanned aerial system program has evolved in the three years since it started in 2009.

"In the history of the Academy, we've talked about airpower, doctrine and the strategy of how air assets work in a tactical environment," said Lt. Col. John McCurdy, who directs the summer airmanship program. "This is truly game-changer for the Academy. We're not just teaching cadets how to fly the aircraft -- the real value is bringing in the airpower component to their education."
 
The UAS program started in 2009 with a pair of Viking 300 aircraft and a dirt runway at Camp Red Devil on Fort Carson, CO, and focused on flight training and familiarization. Today's UAS program goes well beyond that, said Cadet 1st Class Rusty Thomas, who has taken summer UAS courses since 2010. "I've seen the program change a lot," said Thomas, who is assigned to Cadet Squadron 04. "The scenarios are a lot more realistic, especially working with ESET. If we'd had this my freshman year, it would have been really cool."
 
Over the years, both cadet instructor pilots and permanent-party staff have contributed to the program's operational feel, Thomas said. Today, cadet UAS instructor pilots work with the ESET joint operations center to support cadets in the field, relaying their taskings via an isolated, fiber-optic network to the air operations center at the airfield. There, cadets determine how best to support their on-ground classmates.
 
Three cadets operate each Aerosonde: one pilot, one sensor operator and one mission commander, who takes some of the duties normally carried out by the pilot in an operational environment. They communicate over channels using nine-line combat support requests and Internet relay chat, mirroring the operational Air Force environment.
 
Cadet 2nd Class Derek Richardson of CS 15 is also involved with the summer UAS program. The prior-enlisted Airman favorably compared the Academy's program to what he saw during his Operation Air Force visit to Beale Air Force Base, CA, earlier this summer. "A lot of the stuff we learn her correlates directly to how they operate the Global Hawk," he said.
 
McCurdy said Air Education and Training Command is scheduled to take over the program in the summer of 2014.

(Photo provided by the USAF)

FMI: www.af.mil

Advertisement

More News

Airborne 10.29.14: Antares Launch Failure, GAMA Responds, Another 'Roadable'???

Also: Dragon Returns, Quadcopter Flown At Airliner?, Classic Aero-TV: Redhawk, Diesel Flt School Airplanes, WWII Bomber Found The unmanned Antares rocket built by Orbital Science C>[...]

Antares ISS Resupply Mission Suffers Launch Failure

Vehicle Suffers Failure Just Seconds Into Launch Sequence Analysis By ANN Space Correspondent, Wes Oleszewski At approximately 18:22:38.651 Eastern time, the two AJ-26 first stage >[...]

Airborne 10.27.14: New Freefall Altitude Record, NBAA14 Wrap-Up, Falcon AOG

Also: New ALPA Officers, Hurricane Hunters, Aventura AVW, New Runway at Copiah County, LTC Tom Dougherty Flies West Only 2 years ago, Felix Baumgartner set a record for the highest>[...]

Airborne 10.29.14: Antares Launch Failure, GAMA Responds, Another 'Roadable'???

Also: Dragon Returns, Quadcopter Flown At Airliner?, Classic Aero-TV: Redhawk, Diesel Flt School Airplanes, WWII Bomber Found The unmanned Antares rocket built by Orbital Science C>[...]

U.K. Ministry Of Defense Makes $2.42 Billion Air Traffic Management Deal

Contract Awarded To Joint Venture Between Thales And NATS AQUILA, a joint venture between Thales and NATS, has been awarded the £1.5 billion (approx. $2.42 billion) contract,>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2014 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC