A pair of MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft recently flew an air-to-ground weapon system evaluation over the Utah Test and Training Range. The Reapers flew a two-ship formation for the first time en-route through civilian air space from Creech AFB, Nev., to the range, according to the May 27 release. “There were no safety violations; everything was spot on,” said SMSgt. Gregory Young, 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron evaluation production superintendent. Combat Hammer’s top-to-bottom evaluation of the Reaper’s strike capability gives combatant commanders “the necessary information to ensure they plan and pair the correct number of weapons against any given type of target,” explained Maj. John Collier, 86th FWS test evaluator. Geographically separate aircrew from several units, including the 432nd Attack Squadron at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., employed AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided bombs over the range, May 12-15.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.