Tag Archives: Military

Will the Pentagon do it’s required review of its finances ?

The American military budget is up around  $500 Billion…..

But NO one has ever let the bean counters find where ALL the money is spent….

What has prevented the Pentagon from being examined this way before? The answer lies somewhere “between lethargy and complexity,” said Gordon Adams, a distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center who was the top budget official for national security in the Clinton White House. “It hasn’t been done ever,” he told me, “partly because it’s incredibly complicated to do and also because there’s not a great, powerful will in the building to do it.”

The complexity of the project dates back to the Civil War, Adams said, when the Army and the Navy set up their own separate accounting systems. The Air Force also went its own way after its creation following World War II, and the military build-ups of the last four decades scrambled the department’s financial records many times over. The explosion of military contractors since 9/11 has made scrubbing the books harder still. Adams estimated that an audit would have to account for 15 million to 20 million contracting transactions each year. The Pentagon has spent several billion dollars over the last seven years just trying to consolidate its accounting systems in preparation for a potential audit.

Despite the ramp-up costs, the project has never risen to be a top priority; the Pentagon has simply been too busy fighting wars. “The military has repeatedly argued that they need to focus on the war effort and accountability can come later,” said Kori Schake, a fellow at the Hoover Institution who previously served in a variety of national-security positions in the government. That excuse carried more weight with lawmakers in the years when the United States had hundreds of thousands of troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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NATO moves more military might to the Baltic States ….

While Donald Trump tried to jawbone more money for Defense out of NATO countries?

His Defense Dept. has quietly moved more NATO air assets , troops and heavy weapons to the bordering countries of the Baltic and Russia …..

Sidewinder- and AMRAAM-armed Dutch F-16s and German Typhoons are handing over Baltic Air Policing duties to Polish F-16s and Spanish EF-18 Hornets.Eastern Europe, including ……Lithuania, Poland , Estonia, and Latvia…..to counter a build of Russian military units….

The concern that the US would not support NATO was another one Donald Trump’s campaign stories that rings untrue…

It should be noted that Defense Sec Mattis did a tour as the American military boss in the organization as the commander of American European Forces….

The sight of heavily armed NATO fighters in the skies over the Baltic States is one that the alliance hopes will continue to deter aggression in the region.

Every few months, member nations take turns policing the skies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as the international airspace over the neighboring Baltic Sea.

The three tiny nations—bordering Russia, its exclave Kaliningrad or long-term ally Belarus—are spending heavily on their defense, but their small size makes a fighter-equipped air arm something of a luxury. Therefore, they remain heavily reliant on fellow NATO members for air defense.

The alliance is further increasing its presence both here and in other areas of Eastern Europe. The Enhanced Forward Presence, a plan outlined by NATO leaders at the Wales summit three years ago, is taking shape, putting battalion-sized army formations in place in an attempt to deter regional aggression. Hundreds of troops, armored vehicles and equipment have been arriving since in the Baltic States and Poland, by sea and air. NATO is also reinforcing air policing measures for countries on the Black Sea….

More ….

image….Sidewinder- and AMRAAM-armed Dutch F-16s and German Typhoons are handing over Baltic Air Policing duties to Polish F-16s and Spanish EF-18 Hornets. Credit: Tony Osborne/AW&ST

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The U.S. Marines are back in Helmand province Afghanistan…

President Obama got them out in 2014….

Donald Trump has reinserted American regular American combat troops back….

Spec Ops guys have been increased in number there also…

American troops may never leave…

Almost 4,000 Marines, backed by helicopter gunships, pushed into the Helmand River Valley on the morning of July 2 as part of an effort to regain control of the region from the Taliban.

The U.S. Marine Corps has returned to Helmand, the restive province in southern Afghanistan where it fought years of bloody battles with the Taliban, to help train Afghan forces struggling to contain the insurgency.

Many of the 300 Marines coming to Helmand as part of the NATO-led Resolute Support training mission are veterans of previous tours in the province, where almost 1,000 coalition troops, mostly U.S. and British, were killed fighting the Taliban.

When they left in 2014, handing over the sprawling desert base they knew as Camp Leatherneck to the Afghan army, the Marines never expected to return. The fact that they are back underlines the problems Afghan forces have faced since being left to fight alone….

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image of the Marines operating back a few years ago….MANPREET ROMANA / AFP / GETTY

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The F-35 Fighter Jet continues to cost MORE money…

The jet has had a major problem with keeping its cost’s down and has some US  military service considering keeping their legacy Fighter Jets in service for decades more and requesting less F-35’s….

The ‘one size fits all’ thing has been expensive…

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The F-35’s development program will wrap up one year late in May 2018 and require $1.7 billion more than planned, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

A full-year delay poses a risk to the U.S. Navy’s timeline to declare initial operating capability (IOC) on its F-35C carrier variant and the program’s full-rate production decision planned for April 2019, the government watchdog wrote in an April report. GAO urged the Pentagon to finish development before making “significant new investments” in the aircraft.

GAO’s estimate is a significant departure from the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO). The JPO estimates development will be delayed just five months, wrapping up in October 2017, and require only $530 million extra.

The JPO took issue with the GAO’s estimate for the cost and timeline of the F-35 development program….

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image…alsakaf35s.com

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CNN announces the use of 21,000lb massive MOAB bomb in Afghanistan..

CNN’s Barbara Star  breaks out that the bomb was dropped  in Nangahar Providence, Afghanistan by a US Air Force Spec Ops C-130….

The main effect of the weapon is the concussive air blast….

The effect of the bomb is widespread…(Up to a mile)

It has not been used in combat previously….

The target was a remote ISIS or other base or training camp close to Pakistan…

The Trump Admin led by the General’s are moving to be more aggressive military….

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB pronounced /ˈm.æb/, commonly known as the Mother of All Bombs) is a large-yield conventional (non-nuclear) bomb, developed for the United States military by Albert L. Weimorts, Jr. of the Air Force Research Laboratory.[1] At the time of development, it was touted as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever designed.[2] The bomb was designed to be delivered by a C-130 Hercules, primarily the MC-130E Combat Talon I or MC-130H Combat Talon II variants….

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Another Trump change in directions…He NOW Supports NATO….

You KNEW this was coming ….

I pointed out early on that Trump would cahnge his tune when he hired on the ‘General’s’ to run his Defense/National Securoty shop……..

A few  of them have served a stint with NATO ….

Trump for expanding NATO. Not leavin it

Source…..

Note….

Defense Sec mattis WAS  the head of the US Supreme Allied Commander of Transformation which was part of the US military link to NATO for 2 years….

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Def Sec Mattis wants his own team…

And that  means mostly people who served under President Obama…

Trump people ain’t happy….

Mattis isn’t political…But he’ll HAVE to learn to be….

Image result for Mattis

Defense Secretary James Mattis’ unconventional choices for top Pentagon posts and his reluctance to aggressively push for dramatic increases in the defense budget have rankled Republicans on Capitol Hill who say he’s burning through political capital he needs as he begins reshaping the Pentagon.

Mattis was widely embraced on both sides of the aisle when President Donald Trump nominated him. Republicans and Democrats alike expressed hope that the retired four-star general would be a moderating force on the volatile commander in chief.

But Republican lawmakers and senior congressional aides said in recent interviews they’re running out of patience with Mattis’ staffing decisions, which have disappointed Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee hoping to see their ideological allies elevated to senior levels in the Defense Department. Others are grumbling about Mattis’ refusal to advocate a bigger increase in the defense budget, which defense hawks believe was gutted disastrously under President Barack Obama.

“He certainly has got a tough job, but it sometimes feels like he forgets that we won the election,” said one aide to a GOP senator on the Armed Services Committee, who declined to speak on the record for fear of publicly alienating the defense secretary….

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image…Sl;ate

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Trump Admin follows Obama script in African military policy action…

This should be NO surprise since just about the all the  Trump Admin Pentagon bosses served under President Obama….

Image result for US spec ops in Africa

American Special Ops ‘advisors’ are on the ground in more than seven countries and those and other countries have asked more…

The global reach of special operators is widening. During the peak of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly 13,000 Special Operations forces were deployed on missions across the globe, but a large majority were assigned to those two countries. Now, more than half of the 8,600 elite troops overseas are posted outside the Middle East or South Asia, operating in 97 countries, according to the Special Operations Command.

Still, about one-third of the 6,000 American troops currently in Iraq and Syria are special operators, many of whom are advising local troops and militias on the front lines. About a quarter of the 8,400 American troops in Afghanistan are special operators.

In Africa, about one-third of the nearly 6,000 overall troops are Special Operations forces. The only permanent American installation on the continent is Camp Lemonnier, a sprawling base of 4,000 United States service members and civilians in Djibouti that serves as a hub for counterterrorism operations and training. The United States Air Force flies surveillance drones from small bases in Niger and Cameroon.

Elsewhere in Africa, the roles of special operators are varied, and their ranks are small, typically measured in the low dozens for specific missions. Between 200 and 300 Navy SEALs and other special operators work with African allies to hunt shadowy Shabab terrorists in Somalia. As many as 100 Special Forces soldiers help African troops pursue the notorious leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Joseph Kony. And Navy SEALs are training Nigerian commandos for action in the oil-rich delta.

The United States is building a $50 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, that is likely to open sometime next year to monitor Islamic State insurgents in a vast area on the southern flank of the Sahara that stretches from Senegal to Chad.

Mr. Trump’s tough talk on terrorism has been well received here in Chad, where American Special Operations and military instructors from several Western nations finished an annual three-week counterterrorism training exercise last week.

Many African soldiers and security forces said they would welcome an even larger United States military presence to help combat myriad extremist threats. “Of course we’d like more,” said Hassan Zakari Mahamadou, a police commissioner from Niger. “U.S. forces enhance us.”

The Pentagon has allocated about $250 million over two years to help train the armies and security forces of North, Central and West African countries.

But American aid and training alone — along with occasional secret unilateral strikes — will not be enough to defeat groups like Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Islamic State, officials say…..

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image…The Huffington Post

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Syria fires missiles at Israeli warplanes on bombing run IN Syria…

Wait?

America has troops IN Syria helping efforst against ISIS?

The Russian’s have troops in Syria also?

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The US is tight with Israel which sometimes quietly makes bombing runs INTO Syria to blast stockpiles for the ­Lebanon-based Shiite militia Hezbollah, an Iranian group fighting alongside troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad….

Confusing?

The sounds of two distinct booms could be heard in Jerusalem soon after the arrival of the Syrian projectiles. The incoming missiles also set off warning sirens in the Jordan Valley, home to the ancient city of Jericho as well Palestinian farming villages and Jewish settlements.

Over the past five years, Israeli jets have from time to time struck what Israeli military analysts describe as weapons caches and convoys of arms being transferred from Syrian stockpiles to the ­Lebanon-based Shiite militia Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy fighting alongside troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Israel fears that as the Syrian civil war possibly winds down, Israel fears that as the Syrian civil war possibly winds down, Hezbollah could receive a windfall in sophisticated arms from Assad and Iran. Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war along the Israel-Lebanon border in 2006, and both sides say they are prepared for another.could receive a windfall in sophisticated arms from Assad and Iran. Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war along the Israel-Lebanon border in 2006, and both sides say they are prepared for another.

Israel also occupies two-thirds of the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Israeli officials say they will never return the territory to Syria.

Israel reported no injuries or damage to its pilots or aircraft. The Israeli army did not reveal the target of its overnight airstrikes. Israel’s Channel 10 said the mission was to destroy a weapons convoy destined for Hezbollah.

Syria’s military and media said the Israelis hit sites in central ­Syria near Palmyra, and claimed that Syria’s antiaircraft batteries had downed an Israeli jet. “Our air defense engaged them and shot down one warplane over occupied territory, hit another one, and forced the rest to flee,” the Syrian army said in a statement reported by state news agency Sana….

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image….The American Conservative

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Is Trump slow walking America into a war with North Korea?

There IS No doubt that North Korea is the number ONE danger point on the planet….

The country HAS nukes….

The country is testing ballistic missile ‘s….

The country IS POOR….

But saber rattling against North Korea is a VERY HIGH stakes gamble….

Seoul, South Korea (20 Million people) is well within range of North Korea’s missile range….

North Korea has a large military….

American has 50,000 troops in South Korea….

And a large military campaign into North Korea would put America BACK to the latter part of World War II, in a two front war situation….

NOT a GOOD LOOK….

The Trump administration gave its clearest signal yet that it would consider taking military action against North Korea, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that “all options are on the table” to deter the threat from Pyongyang.

Tensions are running high in Northeast Asia, with North Korea making observable progress toward its goal of building a missile that could reach the U.S. mainland and China incensed over South Korea’s decision to deploy an American antimissile battery.

Tillerson’s remarks, ruling out diplomatic talks and leaving the door open to military action, will fuel fears in the region that the Trump administration is seriously considering what Washington euphemistically calls “kinetic” options.

“Let me be very clear: The policy of strategic patience has ended,” Tillerson said at a news conference in Seoul with Yun Byung-se, the South Korean foreign minister. He was referring to the Obama administration policy of trying to wait North Korea out, hoping that sanctions would prove so crippling that Pyongyang would have no choice but to return to denuclearization negotiations.

“We’re exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table,” Tillerson said. While the United States does not want military conflict, threats “would be met with an appropriate response,” he added.

“If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table,” Tillerson said.

Hours later, Trump decried North Korea’s defiance and also took aim at China, the North’s main patron. “North Korea is behaving very badly,” Trump wrote in a Twitter post. “They have been ‘playing’ the United States for years. China has done little to help!”….

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The General’s want State Dept assistance for worldwide terrorist campaign…

Contrary to how the White House guys Trump Aides Bannon and Miller feel?

The General’s running the miliotary side of the government realize that they NEED diplomatic assiatnce to balance their military actions in the fight across the Middle East and Africa….

Image result for gen votel

Right Now?

The State Dept under Rex Tillerson is understaffed and just about invisible ….

‘Soft Power’ IS needed to compliment the military ‘iron fist’…..

Know your history….

If President Donald Trump wants to “start winning wars again,” he would do well to fund the State Department’s non-military work in the Middle East and Africa and plan for long-term political solutions, the two top U.S. commanders leading the fight against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups those regions told Congress .

One week after Trump released his first budget request — which would shift $54 billion to the Pentagon’s budget next year with a commensurate slash in foreign aid and domestic non-defense spending — Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, and Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, of U.S. Africa Command, offered a robust defense of soft power engagement before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“We could knock off all the ISIL and Boko Haram this afternoon; but by the end of the week, so to speak, those ranks would be filled,” said Waldhauser, in a Thursday hearing. “Many people, especially those in uniform, have said we can’t kill our way to victory here.”

“The short answer is no, we cannot [win the war without soft power],” he said.

Since releasing his budget request for fiscal year 2018, Trump has pledged to “totally obliterate” ISIS, and said “we don’t fight to win,” and “we have to start winning wars again.” But in the hearing today and in other public remarks senior U.S. generals have said the same thing previous top war commanders have said for many years about fighting terrorism — they believe that success requires more than a quick military campaign.

“A solely military response is not sufficient,…

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image of  Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command…military.com

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Air Force to extend KC-135’s in addition to KC-46 buys….

Like the B-52 US Air Force Bomber?

The KC-135, Aerial tanker which is based on the old B -707 will be carrying crews that are younger than the airplane itself…..

Money and time for the newer KC-46, Aerial tanker, which is baased on the B-767……means that the 135’s are ATILL needed for at least another 20+ years….

‘If it ain’t broke, eh?’

Boeing to miss deadline on KC-46 tanker, no delivery till 2018

Retiring KC-135s would not automatically mean more cash for KC-46s because the Defense Department cannot easily transfer money between its operations and maintenance (O&M) and procurement accounts, Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group, points out.

“The fundamental conundrum of Defense Department procurement is [that] procurement and O&M accounts don’t talk to each other,” says Aboulafia, adding that Gen. Everhart “is just being realistic.”

Modernizing the KC-135 instead of buying more KC-46s also allows the Air Force to add capacity in the near term, notes Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. If the Air Force needs more tankers right now, adding KC-46s will not help because the additional aircraft will not be available until near the end of the current production schedule in the 2020s, he says.

Boeing’s next-generation KC-46 assembly line
The Air Force will begin to field Boeing’s next-generation KC-46 Pegasus by the end of 2017. Credit: Boeing

In the meantime, the Air Force wants to make sure the KC-135 workhorse can survive on a dynamic future battlefield…

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Note…..

As one of the commenters said to this Avuiakltion Week piece ?

Upgrading the KC-135 will probably cost the same as buying  new KC-46’s…

But the 135s are already physically here…

B-52’s will be around for another 20 years probably….

image….Boeing KC-46 tanker (left) flying alongside the older KC-135 © / AFP

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More American Combat Troops arrive in Syria…

The new arrivals are NOT just military advisers ….

They are US Army Rangers combat troops.and US Marine artillery  fire units…

They are there to help in the final fighting against ISIS forces in last hold out cities….

The mission of the additional troops will be to help Syrian fighters prepare for the offensive on Islamic State forces in Raqqa. They will provide artillery support, training and protection for improvised explosives, among other efforts, Colonel Dorrian said.

The decision to deploy artillery mimics the approach taken in Mosul, Iraq, where American and French artillery have been supporting the Iraqi offensive to take the western half of the city.

In the case of Raqqa, the idea is that Syrian forces will do the bulk of the fighting on the ground but that Americans will assist them by providing advisers as well as firepower.

The United States is already carrying out airstrikes in Syria and has deployed surface-to-surface rockets in the northern part of the country. Before he left office, President Barack Obama approved the use of a small number of Apache attack helicopters, and they are expected to be part of the Raqqa operation, as well. Now, Marine artillery is being added to the mix….

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J-Stars could be going smaller via a GulfStream 550….

The Israel’s and Brits have similar sized military aircraft working in the business jet configuration doing the surviance work….

Image result for Grumman JStars

Northrop Grumman has settled on a Gulfstream G550 business jet proposal for the U.S. Air Force’s J-Stars recap competition, and submitted its bid to the service March 2.

Northrop, along with its partners Gulfstream and L3 Technologies, is the first of three potential teams to publicly acknowledge that it has submitted its bid for the J-Stars recap. Proposals were due to the Air Force March 2. Lockheed Martin is working with Bombardier on a proposal based on the Canadian company’s Global 6000 business jet; meanwhile, Boeing is offering a modified version of its 737-700 commercial airliner.

Northrop had been considering basing its J-Stars bid on the G650, a slightly bigger airframe, but decided the G550 was the “right-sized” platform for the program due to its performance and maturity, Northrop J-Stars lead Alan Metzger told Aviation Week March 2.

“We believe the G550 is the best-performing aircraft with the best balance of cost schedule and risk to go with that,” Metzger said.

The launch of the $6.9 billion competition for 17 J-Stars aircraft has been a long time coming. The industry solicitation was held up due to statutory language that would have compelled the Air Force to pursue a fixed-price contract; the service finally issued the request for proposals in December after the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer waived the language. Meanwhile, the competitors have been working to mature their proposals under risk reduction contracts for several years now.

Northrop settled on a business jet rather than an airliner because a smaller airframe allows operations in more locations around the world, while at the same time affording substantially less fuel burn than other platforms and subsequently lower life cycle cost, Metzger said….

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As Germany starts to rearm…Old feelings stir….

The signal from American Defense Sec Mattis was blunt….

NATO countries need to increase Defense spending…..

The signal from Trump and his close advisor Bannon even more more blunt…..

America would try to get cozy with the Russians at the cost of agreements with Europe….

VP Pence, Defenese Sec Mattis and Sec of State Tillerson have gone out their ways to assure the Europeans that their boss diddn’t mean it when he said bad things about NATO and Europe….

But the doubts are there…..

Germany is the workhorse economy of Europe….

The same country that has shied away from military power now finds itself turning back to re-arm….

Image result for german military 2017

As the Trump administration ratchets up the pressure on allied nations to shoulder more of their own defense, no country is more in the crosshairs than Germany. If it meets the goals Washington is pushing for, Germany — the region’s economic powerhouse — would be on the fast track to again become Western Europe’s biggest military power.

Any renaissance of German might has long been resisted first and foremost by the Germans — a nation that largely rejected militarism in the aftermath of the Nazi horror. Yet a rethinking of German power is quickly emerging as one of the most significant twists of President Trump’s transatlantic policy.

Since the November election in the United States, the Germans — caught between Trump’s America and Vladimir Putin’s Russia — are feeling less and less secure. Coupled with Trump’s push to have allies step up, the Germans are debating a military buildup in a manner rarely witnessed since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Perhaps nowhere is the prospect of a new future playing out more than here in Lithuania — where nearly 500 German troops, including a Bavarian combat battalion, arrived in recent weeks for an open-ended deployment near the Russian frontier. The NATO deployment marks what analysts describe as Germany’s most ambitious military operation near the Russian border since the end of the Cold War. It arrived with a formidable show of German force — including 20 Marder armored infantry fighting vehicles, six Leopard battle tanks and 12 Fuchs and Boxer armored personnel carriers.

“Maybe, with respect to the United States, you need to be careful what you wish for,” said Lt. Col. Torsten Stephan, military spokesman for the German troops in Lithuania. “Mr. Trump says that NATO may be obsolete, and that we need to be more independent. Well, maybe we will.”

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US Air Force to stand down Predator Drones….

The Predor will be replaced by Reaper drones  which can carry more ‘equipment’  for different missions for a longer period of time…

Image result for predator/reaper drones

As the Air Force moves to an all MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted combat aircraft fleet, it will officially retire the MQ-1 Predator in 2018, the service announced last week.

To prepare, some units — such as the 20th Attack Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri — will halt flight operations July 1.

“Right now, the plan is to stop flying the MQ-1 in 2018, and that means we need to get transitioned this year,” the 20th Attack Squadron commander, identified only as  Lt. Col. James, said in a release. “As part of that, we are going to stop flying the MQ-1 completely by July 1, 2017. We will gradually stand up our number of combat lines on the MQ-9 so by the end of the year we are only an MQ-9 squadron.”

The Air Force has 93 Reapers and 150 Predators in its inventory. Both aircraft are made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. of San Diego.

Moving from the MQ-1 — which proved itself as a strike and surveillance platform early on in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has been in service for more than 20 years — to the larger MQ-9 streamlines the force, according to the 432nd Operations Group commander, identified as Col. Joseph in the release.

“Having a single aircraft buys more flexibility, simplifies training and logistics, and gives our people more [career progression] opportunities,”….

Note….

I wonder where almost 100 decommissioned Predators are gonna end up?

The US Army also has aversion of the Predator called the Grey Eagle….

image…Comparison of the smaller Predator vs Larger Reaper drones…YouTube

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