The New York Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing at Hancock Field in Syracuse will host a schoolhouse for MQ-9 Reaper pilots and sensor operators, announced Air Force officials Thursday. The MQ-9 formal training unit will add 44 full-time personnel and five contractors to Hancock Field, they said. The wing already operates the remotely piloted MQ-9s in combat over Afghanistan, from Syracuse, and it trains MQ-9 maintenance personnel from across the active duty component, Air Guard, and Air Force Reserve. The new schoolhouse will instruct MQ-9 operators from across those three components, too. “The addition of the pilot training mission is a natural extension of our MQ-9 Field Training Detachment which has been active since October 2009,” said Col. Kevin Bradley, 174th FW commander. Wing officials have said MQ-9 training flights would take place over the Adirondack Mountains in northeastern New York.
Adm. Christopher Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and head of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, is pushing a “portfolio” approach to requirements and wants his position to have “more teeth” so he can enforce it.