13:50 PM

National Commander Visits Green Flag-West

Maj Gen Mark Smith, Civil Air Patrol national commander, visited one of CAP’s major programs in support of the U.S. Air Force, Army and Marines -- Operation Green Flag-West at North Las Vegas Airport in Nevada – on May 10.

As part of both Green Flag-West and, in Louisiana, Green Flag-East, a sensor ball camera is placed on the belly or beneath the wing of a CAP Cessna, turning that airplane into a “Surrogate Reaper.” This enables the CAP airplane, once aloft, to mimic the Air Force’s MQ-1 Predator or MQ-9 Reaper – unmanned aircraft, depending on the focus of the training exercise, while providing real-time data and imagery to U.S. service members on the ground.

The sensor ball camera allows the Cessna’s CAP aircrew to lock onto a target and track it in real-time using full-motion video. Military service members on the ground are able to train before deployment overseas without having to rely on an actual Predator or Reaper for that purpose, thus enabling maximum usage of available Predators and Reapers for missions of national defense overseas rather than for training purposes stateside.

During his visit, Smith spoke with Air Force and CAP participants alike about the importance of the Surrogate Reaper program and the significant contributions to national security provided by their Surrogate Reaper training support to U.S. military forces.