AFMC commander visits Southwest Asia

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Matthew McGovern
  • U.S. Central Command Air Forces Public Affairs
The commander of Air Force Materiel Command visited Southwest Asia recently to receive a first-hand look at challenges Airmen face maintaining airfield weapon systems in the area of responsibility.

During his visit, Gen. Bruce Carlson discussed what AFMC brings to the fight, including science and technology.

"Much of what we do in our science and technology area is focused directly on supporting those who are fighting the war. Whether it's materials, equipment research, or changing data links, we conduct direct research to find better ways to support those that are out in the field," he explained.

"In the acquisition business, we work very hard to rapidly acquire modification, sustainment or improvements to capabilities to input them into our weapon systems quickly and get them out to the warfighters."

The general's itinerary at an air base in the Persian Gulf included a Combined Air Operations Center briefing and Combat Operations and Air Mobility Division tours. He also toured the Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division and the flightline. While touring the AOR, he visited most of the places where AFMC is involved in delivering expeditionary capabilities to the war efforts.

One of the capabilities AFMC delivers is the Remote Operations Video Enhanced Receiver, or ROVER, system.

"ROVER is a great example," the general said. "It's a communication capability installed on the (MQ-1)Predator. This was done at AFMC in direct support of a warfighter requirement.

"The Predator can transmit live video pictures to ground-based targeting teams equipped with the ROVER system. ROVER is operational today and has been used to detect, target and destroy improvised explosive devices and disrupt insurgent activities throughout Iraq and Afghanistan," General Carlson said.

Though there are advancements in technology in the Air Force, AFMC continuously looks at how to sustain Air Force materials and weapon systems.

"Many of the airplanes that we operate today are pretty old and we're using them at a rate and in conditions that we never thought we would, and for longer periods. Sustaining that fleet is another primary role we have," General Carlson said.

The general said the current war on terrorism is complex and brings with it increased challenges.

"One of the things we're going to do is get a little leaner, do things a little smarter and quite frankly we're doing that very well in AFMC," he said. "We have eliminated back logs, reduced customer wait time, shortened supply lines and essentially made things and produced airplanes faster.

"We're focusing very heavily right now on our special operations force," General Carlson said. "We have turned out a number of C-130s -- whether they're (AC-130) gunships or (MC-130 Combat) Talons -- back to our special operations customers ahead of schedule. If you put an airplane back out on the street a month early, it means it's flying combat missions a month early.

"We will continue to work very hard to train our people so they can not only do their primary task very well, but they can do more than one thing. That training program is ongoing in the command as well as across the Air Force."

The general concluded by reminding Airmen that America's public is behind them during this war.

"When the president spoke during the State of the Union Address, he mentioned support for American fighting men and women. He got probably the biggest applause of the night across both parties," General Carlson said.

"And there was a time not very long ago, in my military career, when that simply wasn't the case," he said. "I think it should be a great comfort to all those who are deployed over here to know that their nation is behind them solidly in support."

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