A Kansas National Guard 190th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) aircraft will return today from a two-week deployment to Germany providing medical aerial evacuations from Afghanistan while utilizing for the first time a new missile defense system on a KC-135 Stratotanker. The mission, based out of Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany, included four flights into Afghanistan, evacuating injured service members to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
The operational mission was the culmination of months of coordinated testing involving the 190th ARW, Air Mobility Command and Northrop Grumman, designers of the anti-missile technology known as the Guardian System.
The system is pod based and designed to detect and employ countermeasures against infrared-guided surface-to-air missiles. When the system detects a launch, it provided 360-degree protection by tracking the incoming missile and then jamming the missile's guidance system with a laser beam. The entire process occurs in seconds and requires no action by the tanker's crew.
"It's this sort of cooperative effort between the military and the private sector that drive advances in military technology," said Maj. Gen. (KS) Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general. "This new system will provide a strong measure of protection for U.S. airmen as they carry out their vital missions at home and abroad."
"Anti-missile technology is long overdue on the KC-135," said Col. Keith Lang, commander of the 190th Air Refueling Wing. "The Stratotanker has flown in harm's way since Vietnam and the time is right to add this extremely important defensive capability."
The Guardian System is contained almost entirely in a single pod that mounts to the underside of the tanker's fuselage. The system can be removed and mounted on another aircraft in a matter of minutes, providing flexibility and cost savings as it can be removed from aircraft not in harm's way. This is in stark contrast to typical defensive systems where all the system's components are permanently installed throughout the aircraft.
The 190th ARW is home to nearly 1,000 Airmen at Forbes Field. The 190th is an Air National Guard Wing assigned to the Air Force Air Mobility Command and flies the KC-135 air refueling aircraft in support of worldwide aerial refueling missions. The 190th also has a state mission that includes emergency relief support during natural disasters, search and rescue operations, and support to civil defense authorities. Please visit www.190arw.ang.af.mil for more information.
For additional information, contact Major Chris Hill at 785-861-4593 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Captain Joe Blubaugh at 785-861-4198 (email@example.com