Sunday, November 29, 2015


Civilian Pilots for ISR Drones. The Air Force has hired civilian defense contractors to fly MQ-9 Reaper drones to help track suspected militants and other targets. The contractors are now operating combat air patrols above military areas of operation to provide video and other types of intelligence data. The Air Force says that the civilian drone pilots don't fire off any weapons systems; that they are only conducting Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Read more in "Air Force hires civilian drones pilots for combat patrols; critics question legality", Los Angeles Times, November 27, 2015.

NATO Drone Crashes in Afghanistan. A drone crashed in the Kohi Safi district of Parwan province on Tuesday, November 24th. Some news reports say that the drone was of the Reaper variety.

RPA Officer Pay to Go Up. Congress has ordered the Air Force to increase aviation incentive pay for pilots flying drones from $25,000 to $35,000. The pay increase is part of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. (Air Force Times, Nov 27, 2015).

Drone Strikes. An Afghan official says that a U.S. drone strike in eastern Afghanistan killed at least 16 militants. The air attack was in an area known as Gagi Mountain near the Pakistani border in Khost province. (Gandara Blog, November 27, 2015).

Heron Drone Still Active in Afghanistan. The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) is still operating the Heron UAS out of Mazar-e-Sharif. The drone provides a real-time video feed via satellite data link to the TAAC-North Joint Operations Center (JOC) located at Camp Marmal at MeS. Read more in "Heron 1 Chalks Up 25,000 Flight Hours in Afghanistan", ASDNews, November 27, 2105.

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