Lt. Gen. William Etter, commander of 1st Air Force (Air Force North), has challenged the directed energy community to demonstrate a new laser-assisted imaging system that will extend the range and shorten the timelines for positive identification of potential threats to the National Capital Region. Janet Fender, the scientific advisor to the commander of Air Combat Command, speaking during AWS16, said the demonstration will happen “within months.” The Air Force last spring asked industry for its ideas on ways to update or replace the National Capital Region’s ground-based air defense surveillance equipment, specifically the Enhanced Regional Situational Awareness (ERSA) system, which was rapidly fielded following the 2001 terrorist attacks. The Air Force wants to enable open interface and future upgrades to ERSA, which includes long-range optical aircraft identification systems and cameras and a visual warning system to signal errant pilots.
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Memorial Day is a time to remember all those who died fighting for their country, just like A1C William Pitsenbarger, an Air Force pararescueman who took part in more than 250 rescue missions before he was killed at the age of 21. His selflessness and valor in the Vietnam War earned him an Air Force Cross and, eventually, a Medal of Honor.
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