New UAV Unit:

The Air Force stood up the 556th Test and Evaluation Squadron, its first operational test squadron for unmanned aircraft systems, during a ceremony March 5 at Creech AFB, Nev., its home. The new unit will support UAV operations worldwide, through force development evaluations, the development of training, tactics, and procedures, systems expertise and fulfilling urgent need requests from commanders in theater. “It will definitely be a significant challenge, but our job is to ensure the right improvements get to the warfighter as complete and as fast as possible,” said Lt. Col. Ty Moyers, the squadron’s commander. The 556th TES already has three new MQ-1 Predators UAVs in its inventory and anticipates receiving a fourth by the end of the year. It is scheduled to receive four MQ-9 Reaper UAVs, larger cousins to the Predator, in 2010. Concurrent to the standup, Air Combat Command inactivated the 53rd Test and Evaluation Group Det. 4 at Creech. Its airmen and equipment will transition to the 556th TES. (Creech report by SSgt. Samuel King Jr.)