The Revolving Door Series: Robert “Ched-Bob” Chedister

Meet retired Major General Robert "Ched-Bob" Chedister, former commander of the US Air Force Air Armament Center (AAC) at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Under Chedister’s watch from 2003-2005, the AAC conducted the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) competition, eliciting bids from Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The contract award went to Boeing, but that was partially overturned later after it became clear that disgraced former air force acqusition executive Darleen Druyun had fiddled with the requirements to favor Boeing’s bid.

Chedister laid-low in retirement for about a year, but now works as Vice President – Operations for a Maryland-based start-up called Proxy Aviation.

Led by chief executive Don Ryan, Proxy is seeking to introduce one of those "disruptive technologies" — and particularly disruptive from the standpoint of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI).

Proxy is hoping to offer the air force a very near-term alternative to the GA-ASI MQ-9B Reaper unmanned aircraft system (aka Predator B). Proxy’s approach is based on the optionally-manned SkyRaider. Four SkyRaiders could fly autonomously and collaboratively on a hunter-killer-type mission, versus the one MQ-9B that needs a cleared-out airspace in which to operate. The SkyRaider is one-fourth the cost of the MQ-9B, so the air force gets four for the price of one.

Chedister’s role in the company will likely fall on the armaments side, as the 250-lb SDB is a natural candidate for the SkyRaider’s 1,000-lb bomb-bay.


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