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RPA Teams Test Hunting Skills Over Nevada Range

RPA Teams Test Hunting Skills Over Nevada Range

432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing

Las Vegas, Nevada -- (ACC) -- July 4, 2013 -- Remotely Piloted Aircraft pilots, sensor operators and intelligence Airmen worked together to fly simulated missions over the Nevada Test and Training Range testing their skills with live bomb drops.

An MQ-1 Predator aircrew member searches for a training target on the nevada test and Training Range June 27, during the 432nd Wing Hunt, a remotely piloted aircraft competition, which took place June 23-28. nearly a dozen teams from acttive duty, reserve and Air National Guard RPA squadrons competed against eachh other by develioping mission plans, evaluating threats and executing combatr missions effectively during the competition.

 U.S. Air Force photo

The 432nd Wing hosted the second RPA weapons competition June 23-28. The 432nd Wing Hunt, formerly known as Gun Smoke, consisted of 18 teams from 14 squadrons - 10 MQ-9 Reaper teams and the rest with the MQ-1 Predator. Each team was comprised of a pilot, sensor operator, and intelligence Airman, who worked together to formulate a mission plan, evaluate threats, and develop a strategy to execute the mission effectively.

 U.S. Air Force photo

"It was a total force integration effort with local, geographically separated units and Air Force Reserve units," said Capt. Marcus from the 432nd Operations Support Squadron. "Due to the fiscal constraints, we limited the competition to only aircrews that could do Remote Split Operations from the local area, saving thousands of dollars."

This type of training and friendly competition affords the teams and each individual a scenario they could encounter down range.

"Training on the Nellis Test and Training Range allows RPA crews who typically fly in Afghanistan to practice against different threats and mission sets," Marcus said. "The 432nd Wing Hunt prepares crews for this fight, as well as the next one."

To further the realism and intense competition live GBU-12s, a 500lb laser-guided bomb, were dropped by the MQ-9 in the southern ranges.

A munitions Airman tightens bolts on a GBU-12 during a bomb build June 19, 2013, in preparation for the 432nd Wing Hunt competition. The bombs were used to further the realism and intensity of the competition, as they were used for live munitions loading on the MQ-9 Reaper. The competition takes place June 23-28 between multiple remotely piloted aircraft squadrons, offering an opportunity for training and demonstration of skill. During the competition, RPA squadron teams were required to formulate a mission plan, evaluate a threat and develop a strategy to execute the mission effectively.

U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Senior Airman A.K.

"For most of these crews, it was the first time they dropped a live GBU-12," Marcus said. "It's important to give the crews an opportunity to test their skills, and practice tactics before having to go into the next combat environment."

The 432nd Wing Hunt also provides an opportunity for the RPA members to build camaraderie while challenging the squadrons in a realistic and tactical environment.

"Oftentimes, the RPA community fights to train, whereas most military units train to fight," Marcus said. "This competition promotes esprit de corps with a challenging scenario meant to test crew's knowledge, mission planning, and execution to be the best."

The winners are as follows:

MQ-1B Top Squadron -15th Reconnaissance Squadron
MQ-1B Top Pilot - 867th RS
MQ-1B Top Sensor Operator - 867th RS
MQ-1B Top Intelligence - 15th RS
MQ-9 Top Squadron - 22nd RS
MQ-9 Top Pilot - 29th Attack Squadron
MQ-9 Top Sensor Operator - 22nd RS
MQ-9 Top Intelligence - 22nd RS
Best Aircraft Launch Crew - 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron "Tiger" Aircraft Maintenance Unit
Best GCS Launch Crew - Lynx Systems Maintenance Unit
Best Weapons Load Crew - 432nd AMXS "Reaper" AMU
Best Overall Maintenance Unit - 432nd Aircraft Communication Maintenance Squadron

(Source : Creech Air Force Base).

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).