Reaping the Benefits

Members from the 432d Wing from Creech AFB, Nev. on Jan. 15 completed a successful test flight of an MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle from Holloman AFB, N.M., through the training airspace of Ft. Irwin, Calif. The Reaper operators used remote split operations to control the aircraft during the mission, meaning airmen both at Creech and Holloman were able to command it at times via satellite links. Holloman has been identified as USAF’s next preferred location for formal training of airmen on the MQ-9 as well as the MQ-1 Predator; Creech is home to the sole current formal training unit. The ability to conduct RSO adds more flexibility to the training. “If the weather is poor for an extended period at Holloman, for example, we will have the ability to fly an airplane launched at Creech to help students graduate on time,” said Lt. Col. James Merchant, commander of Det. 1 of the 432nd Wing at Holloman. Detachments of the 432nd Wing have been stationed at Holloman since November 2008 and will remain there until the final beddown decision is made. (Creech report by Capt. Brooke Brander)