Sunday, March 14, 2010

Project Liberty

Here's a picture a few members from my Civil Engineer (CE) squadron.

We are standing in front of a MC-12. This aircraft is a modified Beechcraft King Air 350. It performs surveilance and reconnance missions through the AOR (Area of Responsibility... that means Afghanistan). They can provide real-time, full-motion video to soliers on the ground that are equipped with special laptops and receivers. Basically, troops below can have a bird's eye view of what's going on all around them without leaving the protection of their cover. It's a pretty interesting mission. They gave us a tour of their facility and aircraft one afternoon.

Here's some more info about it as well:

Basically a Predator on Steroids: That's how Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford , USAF's top uniformed acquisition official, describes the Air Force's new MC-12W surveillance aircraft. Speaking Tuesday at an Air Force Association-sponsored Air Force Breakfast Series presentation in Arlington, Va., Shackelford said the MC-12 features overhead streaming video capability like on MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft, but adds the capacity for signals collection that Predator lacks. Thus the analogy. The Air Force is acquiring a fleet of 37 MC-12s , based on seven modified King Air 350 airframes and 30 King Air 350 Extended Range aircraft. According to Shackelford's briefing slides, all seven 350-based MC-12s have been delivered (six serving in Iraq, one used for training in Meridian, Miss.) as have nine 350 ER-based units (four in the war theater, one in transit, and four at Meridian) (For more from Shackelford, read What to Expect and Too Much of a Good Thing .)

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