Shaw Preferred Location for New Reaper Group

Shaw AFB, S.C., has been selected as the preferred location for a new MQ-9 Reaper group and mission control elements, according to a Jan. 12 Air Force release. Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.; Moody AFB, Ga.; Mountain Home AFB, Idaho; and Offutt AFB, Neb.; were named reasonable alternatives. The first airmen assigned to the group will begin arriving in Fiscal 2018, but the base will not house any remotely piloted aircraft. The Air Force is, however, considering another location to host an MQ-9 wing, including 24 Reapers, launch and recovery elements, a mission control element, a maintenance group, and support personnel. “Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance continues to be our No. 1 most requested capability of combatant commanders and I believe adding additional RPA locations will help our efforts to retain experienced RPA operators that contribute to this vital mission,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. Shaw was selected as the preferred location “because it was the best option to help us diversify assignment opportunities for personnel within the MQ-9 enterprise, provide increased opportunities for leadership from within the community, and provide flexibility to enhance integration with other organizations and capabilities,” said James.