Navy launches next era of aviation

Former commander to visit here to discuss milestone in unplanned flight

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Navy launches next era of aviationIn the wake of a milestone officials say will change naval aviation forever, Indian Wells Valley residents will have an opportunity to hear from NAVAIR’s program executive officer of unmanned aviation and strike weapons — and former commander of Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division — on Friday.

Rear Adm. Mat Winter will address China Lake Alliance members and guests at a luncheon Friday, May 24, at 11:30 a.m. at the SpringHill Suites conference center.

The Navy launched the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator from a modern aircraft carrier last week. The UAV demonstrated an ability to operate seamlessly in that environment, said Winter.

“These are exciting times for the Navy, as we are truly doing something that has never been done before — something I never imagined could be done during my 29-year naval career,” Winter wrote in his Navy Life blog.

“This is exciting for us here on so many levels,” said CLA Executive Director Eileen Shibley. “As pioneers in the industry, we join the UAV community in celebrating this incredible achievement.

“This is indeed an important first, but I think the significance of this accomplishment, as several of our Navy leaders have pointed out, is that we are witnessing the beginning of a new chapter in aviation whose history we get to write.”

Shibley also noted that China Lake is lucky to have NAVAIR leadership in place who have close ties to the local base. Not only is Winter a previous commander here, but NAVAIR commander Adm. David Dunaway also commanded China Lake before him.

“This is important to China Lake because we have leadership who understand the technical culture here and can continue to foster an environment of innovation. We in this community know that our focus is on finding new ways to support the warfighter, and so does Adm. Winter,” said Shibley.

She added that in the China Lake Alliance mission to identify and recruit compatible industry, unmanned technology figures prominently into that endeavor.

“I think the future of unmanned systems is a topic that we all want to hear more about. We are so fortunate that such an expert is coming here to share the news with us, and we welcome the community to join us in listening to his message!”

The cost of the luncheon is $25 per person. For reservations call Jan Bennett at 760-382-4488.

Story First Published: 2013-05-22