Thursday, March 3, 2011
The Air Force's Navy
These pictures won't win any photography awards, but they capture an unusual sight. I'll bet you didn't know that the Air Force operates a number of seagoing vessels. Some are in use to support the water survival school. Some provide down range instrumentation for some missile launch sites. The ones you see here...this layman would call them trawlers...are 60+ feet long. They are used to recover the Teledyne-Ryan AQM-34 target drones that are used out over the Gulf of Mexico as targets in live fire, air to air training for the F-22's and others here at Tyndall AFB. The missiles are programmed with an offset error so that the drones can be re-used. At the end of a mission the drones are flown to a designated recovery area where they deploy a parachute, descend to the gulf and are picked up by the USAF Navy.