Sun Never Sets on Reaper Ops

Royal Air Force MQ-9 Reapers recently clocked 30,000 total combat flight hours in direct support of operations in Afghanistan, according to RAF officials. “The continuing success of our Reaper operations is the result of fine collaborative work between the RAF and [US Air Force],” said the British air commodore who heads RAF air reconnaissance operations. While launched and recovered by RAF personal detached to USAF’s 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron at Kandahar Air Base, RAF 39 Squadron controllers operating from Creech AFB, Nev., fly the armed MQ-9s during the main portion of each sortie, sending commands to the Reapers via satellite communications links. “The British contribution is significant to our operations here. They are embedded in our squadron; they are an integral part of it,” said a 62nd ERS officer. RAF Reapers began operating over Afghanistan in October 2007. The RAFs current fleet of five Reapers is expected to double under current plans. (RAF release)