Holloman on Tap for UAV Training

Air Combat Command said Monday (Aug. 18) that it wants to install a formal training unit for MQ-1 and MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle operations at Holloman AFB, N.M. Currently the service has only one FTU, which is at Creech AFB, Nev. First, ACC must go through an environmental review process, but it would like to start training operations at the New Mexico facility next year. According to the ACC release, Holloman is preferred because it has the capacity, both in existing facilities and in restricted airspace. It also possesses “good weather” and has compatible missions, principally fighter operations with the new F-22 Raptor. “The establishment of an additional FTS is an important step by ACC to provided the right training and right force development and to meet future requirements, not just for US Central Command, but for all combatant commands, while maintaining an operational focus at Creech,” said Gen. John Corley, ACC commander. The Air Force has been rushing to provide additional UAV crews and vehicles to meet an increasing demand. According to an Aug. 18 release from Holloman, the base would establish the new mission in two phases: First, it would create an MQ-1 FTU squadron, with about 17 Predator UAVs and some 300 airmen, including students, as early as January 2009; second, it would form another MQ-1 squadron, an MQ-9 Reaper squadron, and the FTU wing staff, later in 2009. All told, the addition would bring another 750 personnel and 28 Predators and 10 Reapers to Holloman.