Monday, November 09, 2015

SMC celebrates Defense Support Program's 45th anniversary

11/6/2015 - LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif. -- The Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base celebrated the 45th anniversary of the launch of the first Defense Support Program satellite today. It was the beginning of a satellite constellation that has provided early missile warning to our nation's leaders and warfighters for almost five decades.

The launch of the maiden DSP spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Fla., was successfully accomplished on Nov. 6, 1970. For 45 years, the DSP early warning satellite system has provided 24-hour, worldwide surveillance for missile warning and nuclear burst detection and serves as the space segment of the U.S. Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment System.

The DSP program was a follow-on to the Missile Defense Alarm System and Vela Programs. MIDAS was started in 1960 and proved the operational concept of space based infrared detectors and other technologies by 1963. The Vela program was developed in 1963 to monitor nuclear test ban treaty compliance. Both programs were consolidated into the Defense Support Program. Since then, a dedicated team of scientists, engineers, acquisition specialists, civilian contractors and space professionals has ensured that the DSP system performed better than advertised with the successful delivery of 22 satellites on-orbit.

"Starting with the first launch 45 years ago and continuing today, this venerable satellite system has stared down on the Earth from its geosynchronous orbit tens of thousands of miles above our planet's surface," said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, SMC commander and Air Force program executive officer for space. "The resiliency and tenacity of the DSP constellation is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the men and women across the government and industry team of the Defense Support Program. We offer our congratulations on the achievement of such a monumental milestone, and look forward to many more years of mission success!"

The original contractors for the DSP satellite were TRW - now Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems - for the spacecraft and Aerojet - now Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems - for the infrared sensor. In 2001 and 2002, Aerojet and TRW became part of Northrop Grumman Corporation and today, Northrop Grumman continues to sustain the on-orbit spacecraft through its facilities in Redondo Beach and Azuza, Calif. and at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.

"The Defense Support Program has a rich history providing invaluable support to the nation's critical nuclear deterrence mission helping to win the Cold War and providing theater missile warning to warfighters and allies during Desert Storm," said Col. Mike Guetlein, director, Remote Sensing Systems Directorate. "It continues to provide strategic and theater missile threat deterrence to this day, and we are extremely proud of the DSP legacy."

Acquisition and sustainment support for the DSP constellation is managed by the Remote Sensing Systems Directorate for SMC at Los Angeles AFB in El Segundo, Calif., and at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. RS also manages the follow-on capability to DSP, the Space Based Infrared System program, which builds on DSP's legacy of providing timely warning of strategic and theater missile warning threats and other infrared terrestrial events. Both systems are operated by the 460th Space Wing headquartered at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.

North Shore High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps visits Ellington Field

by Senior Airman Chasity Lollis
147th Reconnaissance Wing

11/8/2015 - HOUSTON -- North Shore Senior High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets toured the 147th Reconnaissance Wing at Ellington Field, here, Nov. 7.

The cadets visited the Air Support Operations Squadron as well as the wing's hangar to see the MQ-1 Predator aircraft.

"This is our first time doing this trip," said retired Master Sgt. David Clark, an AFJROTC instructor at the school. "The kids were very interested and very excited. In fact, we almost had to put a limit on how many we can bring just to make sure we could fit them all on the bus."

The cadets' first stop was at the ASOS to speak with Tactical Air Control Party members and Joint Terminal Attack Controllers about their job.

"One of our instructors, Master Sergeant Clark, he worked as a TACP," said AFJROTC cadet Col. Christopher Rodriguez. "So I got some insight on his job."

The cadets looked through a pair of night vision goggles, wore a helmet and Kevlar vest and handled an array of tactical equipment.

They also got a behind the scenes look at the squadron's newest addition-a state of the art Air National Guard Advanced Joint Terminal Attack Controller Training System. The Virtual Reality Scene Generator was a big hit with the students, who flew a virtual airplane and trekked through a mock deployment zone.

The last stop of the tour was at the wing's hangar to learn more about the MQ-1 Predator and how it aids in the wartime mission.

"It was a really fun, really exciting trip," said Rodriguez. "We got to learn quite a bit, a lot of interesting stuff."

"It was a success, a big success," said Clark. "The kids loved it so we'll definitely be back."

147th Reconnaissance Wing reaches 100K flying hours on MQ-1 Predator

by 1st Lt. Alicia Lacy
147th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

11/8/2015 - November 8, 2011 --
The 147th Reconnaissance Wing, Texas Air National Guard, reached 100,000 flying hours on the MQ-1B Predator aircraft, here, Oct. 8.

The wing accomplished this milestone seven short years after receiving its mission to fly the aircraft.

"There have been many milestones along the way for the 111th [Reconnaissance Squadron] since Ellington took on this mission, and there will continue to be more, but this is a very significant accomplishment," said Lt. Col. David Peck, 111th Reconnaissance Squadron commander. "To put 100,000 hours in context, that amount of time is equivalent to flying for 11.41 years non-stop, and we did it in just seven years."

In 2005, the then-147th Fighter Wing's converted from F-16 Fighting Falcons, replacing them with the reconnaissance aircraft, with plans for the unit to be fully equipped and operational by 2009. This change required airmen to adjust and re-train on a new aircraft that began its initial operational capability in the U.S. Air Force only a few years before the wing took its first flight July 2008.

The accomplishment cannot only be attributed to the pilots who fly the mission, but to the entire wing, from the member charged with writing orders to the maintainers who keep the aircraft mission ready and the combatant commanders who use the aircraft in theater.

"We have had to forge and maintain working relationships with a host of organizations over the years," Peck said. "Additionally, we count on support from our advocates at NGB to give us the funding, manpower and voice we need to enable these missions.

"I deeply appreciate the constant hard work and professionalism required by the 147th Reconnaissance Wing to accomplish this milestone, and the great state of Texas can expect impressive achievements from the 147th for years to come," said Col. Gary Jones, vice wing commander.

Graduates honored at 1st annual CCAF degree ceremony at Ellington Field

by Senior Airmen Chasity Lollis
147th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

11/8/2015 - October 4, 2015 -- The 147th Reconnaissance Wing at Ellington Field, here, held its first ceremony honoring its Community College of the Air Force graduates during October's unit training assembly.

The Community College of the Air Force was established in 1972 in order to meet the demands of the Air Force's expeditionary environment and at the same time help airmen achieve their educational goals by capitalizing on job-related training and education as part of flexible degree completion programs.

"The Air Force puts a lot of emphasis on furthering your education," said Command Chief Master Sgt. Michael Cornitius, command chief for the 147th Reconnaissance Wing. "It takes a lot of time and effort to earn a degree and we are extremely proud of our graduates. It didn't make sense that they weren't being recognized."

Late nights and early mornings are an all too common occurrence while attending college classes and working a full time job. When a demanding military service schedule is added to the mix, including mandatory training, deployments and traveling, it makes earning a degree seem nearly impossible.

The CCAF is a federally chartered degree-granting institution that serves the United States Air Force's enlisted total force. They partner with over 108 affiliated Air Force schools, 82 education service offices located worldwide and more than 1,500 civilian academic institutions to serve approximately 300,000 active, Guard and reserve enlisted personnel, making CCAF the world's largest community college system. The college annually awards over 22,000 associate in applied science degrees from 68 degree programs.

Previously, the individual's certificate was either received in the mail or had to be picked up at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

"We intend to make this ceremony an annual event," said Cornitius. "Hard work and dedication don't go unnoticed around here and we wanted to make sure our members knew that. Excellence in all we do is an Air Force core value that should always be recognized."