The Air Force is using a two-ship approach to operations with its unmanned aircraft, described as a lead aircraft accompanied by a second, each providing the other mutual support.
“So typically right now as MQ-9s [Reapers] are tasked – and MQ-1s [Predators] – it’s one airplane to achieve one mission. What we’ve found out at…weapons school is that you can have twice the effect sometimes twice as fast with two airplanes,” Lt Col Landon, chief of MQ-1 and MQ-9 operations in the persistent attack and reconnaissance division at Air Combat Command, told C4SIRNET in a recent interview. For security reasons, we refer to him by only his rank and first name.
Expanding on this concept, Landon said "it would be like an F-16 – you have a lead, you have a number two – they operate two-ship operations for mutual support of one another and then in the MQ-9-MQ-1 world we’ve taken that mutual support construct and changed it to or have grown it to achieve effects on the battlefield faster, whether those are kinetic or non-kinetic effects."
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