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Space Transformation Prepares for Air Force Future

Space Transformation Prepares for Air Force Future

By Tech. Sgt. Michael E. Spaits, Air Force Print News.

Orlando, Florida -- (AFPN) February 4, 2006 -- Information superiority is the difference between today and tomorrow, said Air Force Space Command commander, Gen. Lance W. Lord.

The general told more than 800 attendees at the Air Force Association meeting, here Feb. 3, that there is a tremendous threat “out there,” which is why it is extremely important for the Air Force to become interdependent.

“From the F-22A to the Army’s future combat systems, to the Navy’s DDX and beyond, whether we call it an interdependent force, joint force or net-centric force, it only reaches its full capability when we get the right information to the right place at the right time,” General Lord said.

  • The essential ingredient and critical enabler in that equation is space, he said.

General Lord also said the next generation of space-based systems such as the transformational satellite constellation, space-based infra-red radar and global positioning systems are needed to help make U.S. joint forces more combat effective.

These systems, he said, are critical in strengthening the Air Force’s ability to maintain an “unblinking eye” over enemy forces and aid U.S. forces in striking quickly.

“Time sensitive targeting during the Vietnam era was not measured in minutes or hours, but in days,” he said. “By Desert Storm, the Air Force could service the same high priority targets in around 100 minutes. Today, precision targeting can be acquired within minutes.”

The general cited a U.S. scout on patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2001 who discovered a retreating motorcade. Instantly, the scout relayed the information to U.S. Central Command using satellite communications.

Within minutes, the attack order was given and overhead fighters fired three missiles and, at the same time, a remotely controlled unmanned aerial vehicle joined the attack as the world’s first unmanned fighter. 

That strike killed approximately 100 Taliban personnel, including Mohammed Atef -- a top aide to Usama Bin Laden. 

  • Another area the command is rapidly transforming is search and rescue. 

“Space takes the ‘search’ out of search and rescue,” General Lord said. “Recovery times have literally gone from weeks, and sometimes years, to a matter of days and many times minutes.”

Former prisoner of war, retired-Col. Bud Day, spent 2,018 days in captivity at the “Hanoi Hilton” because he didn’t have the luxury of space enhanced search and rescue, the general said.

“In 2003, an F-14 crew ejected over southwest Iraq and the space community provided the exact location of the downed crew and threat data from the region so that search and rescue forces could ingress and egress without incident,” General Lord said. “From the time that crew hit the ground, they were back in safe hands in only 100 minutes.” 

The general credits the computer-savvy youth of today’s Air Force with helping the service stay in the forefront of technology and maintaining information superiority. 

“Our young Airmen are more computer-literate than ever before, and we must harness that capability as we become more interdependent in the future,” General Lord said. 

Related Biographies:

General Lance W. Lord

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).