So really, there is no big mystery when it comes to the hodgepodge of American tactical combat aircraft and NASA's high flying WB-57 operating out of the Horn of Africa. It is just America going about its decade plus long series of operations in Eastern Africa and the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula. Sneak attacks on Somalian warlords, Harrier strikes on Al Quaeda operatives in Yemen and as last week's unsuccessful Navy SEAL hostage rescue operation are among a growing number of missions that remind us that these operations are often of a very high risk and high priority nature. Thus they demand a full bevy of assets in order to obtain a decent chance of success. Sometimes those assets include special operations Ospreys, fighter aircraft, drones, and in some cases, even NASA WB-57s.


Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address