Finding Homes for Reapers

The Air Force on Tuesday released its criteria for expanding the list of bases that fly the MQ-9 Reaper, a move to build up the service’s remotely piloted aircraft infrastructure. The Air Force will assess candidate bases on mission requirements, capacity, environmental requirements, and cost factors, with a plan to list candidate installations this summer and identify preferred alternatives the following winter. “We are initiating the strategic basing process to determine the best locations for hosting additional locations for the MQ-9 mission,” Jennifer Miller, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, said in a release. “As we go through the basing process, we will use the information we collect to help us determine the affordability and potential locations for [the] expanding MQ-9 enterprise.” The Air Force, as part of its Cultural and Process Improvement Program, wants to diversify the assignment opportunities for RPA personnel, increase the chances for leadership from within, and provide mission flexibility, the release states. All Active Duty bases in the continental US, Alaska, and Hawaii that currently do not house the MQ-9 will be evaluated. The bases must have an Active Duty flying wing or group that performs at least one core RPA mission, and/or is co-located with an Active Duty distributed ground system, the release states. (See also: RPA Changes, Don’t Fear the Reaper.)