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B-52 squadron achieves new operational capability.

The 917th Wing's 93rd Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., is the first B-52 squadron in the entire Air Force to complete the necessary training requirements to use the Litening AT targeting pod in combat.

The squadron achieved this status July 13.

The Litening AT uses high-definition electro-optical sensors and airborne lasers to help the aircrew delect and identify tar-gels and guide weapons more accurately. Although new to the B-52, this type of targeting pod is also used on other combat aircraft and was first approved for testing on the Stratofortress in 2002. In 2003, another test led to follow-on development and testing of training and tactics techniques and procedures.

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"This is a major milestone for the B-52 and the 93rd Bomb Squadron." said Lt. Col. William Floyd, Weapons and Tactics Flight commander. "This unit has invested over 10 years of effort, dedication and persistence to achieve probably the most combat-relevant enhancement to the current B-52 mission. The B-52 targeting pod integration program is a perfect example of a total-force effort that involved every facel of the B-52 community."

"This new mission capability is a first for the B-52 and gives the combatant commander another weapon in his arsenal in the Global War on Terrorism," said Brig. Gen. Bob Tarter, 917th WG commander. "This precision capability will give the theater commander the capability to have a precision weapon platform airborne in the battle area for long periods of time, which will help in attacking targets that are time sensitive and fleeting."

(Lieutenant White is assigned to the 917th WG public affairs office at Barksdale AFB.)

By 1st Lt. Torri White
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Title Annotation:Round the Reserve
Author:White, Torri
Publication:Citizen Airman
Date:Dec 1, 2006
Words:274
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