First MQ-9 Reaper Makes its Home on Nevada
By Senior Airman Travis Edwards, 99th Air Base Wing
Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada -- 14 March 2007 -- (AFNEWS)
-- The MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle's younger, yet larger and stronger,
brother, the MQ-9 Reaper arrived March 13 at its new home at Creech Air Force
The remotely piloted aircraft completed initial testing in California, then
flew more than 250 miles in two hours to land here. The aircraft was piloted by
Lt. Col. Jon Greene, 42nd Attack Squadron commander. Along side him, was his
sensor operator Senior Airman Aaron Aguilar, also of the 42nd ATKS.
"I am truly honored to be the commander of the Air Force's first MQ-9 attack
squadron," said Colonel Greene. Our mission is to train MQ-9 crews and fly
combat by this summer. Bringing the MQ-9 on line is going to take a fresh view
on how we, as Airmen, train and employ."
The Reaper's turboprop engine is able to run at 250 knots, can fly up to
40,000 feet and is able to stay in the air for more than 20 hours.
The MQ-9 Reaper Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
taxis into Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Feb. 13 marking the first operational
airframe of its kind to land here. This Reaper is the first of many soon to be
assigned to the 42nd Attack Squadron.
The newly arrived Reaper will begin flying training missions here by March 19
and the first formal training unit class will begin shortly after, Colonel Green
"One of the big differences between the Reaper and the Predator is the
Predator can only carry about 200 pounds (of ordnance). The Reaper however, can
carry one and a half tons, and on top of carrying Hellfire missiles, can carry
multiple GBU-12 laser-guided bombs," said Capt. Michael Lewis, 42nd ATKS flight
By 2009, the 42nd ATKS should have 18 Reapers assigned for training and
deployment purposes. The plan is for the Reapers to deploy by the beginning of
summer, Colonel Greene said.
Currently, the 42nd ATKS works under the 57th Operations Group in the 57th
Wing. By May 1, the squadron should fall under the 432nd Wing, the first wing
totally dedicated to Predator and Reaper operations.
"My squadron is excited about the opportunity of molding new pilots and
sensor operators into razor-sharp, combat-ready aircrews. We will also develop
the first-ever MQ-9 tactics, techniques and procedures to use in the current
fight as well as any potential future conflicts," Colonel Greene said.
"I am very proud of the Airmen in my squadron who have worked very hard to
meet our goals and I look forward to embarking on this new era of air and space
power," he said.