Officials announce Predator, Reaper additional formal training location
Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico will be the new location for an additional MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper formal training unit, announced the commander of Air Combat Command on July 13.
Gen. John D.W. Corley, with concurrence from the chief of staff of the Air Force, announced the additional formal training unit will allow the Air Force to increase the number of Predator and Reaper combat operators.
Having more unmanned aircraft system combat operators will multiply the flexible, efficient use of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and lethal employment options of the joint forces commander's Predator and Reaper force.
"Air Combat Command has responded to the growing demand for UAS capabilities in today's fight and continues to aggressively acquire joint, interoperable unmanned aircraft systems and effectively train the operators," General Corley said. "The Air Force continues to identify and pursue opportunities to secure global vigilance, reach and power for our nation's future."
The decision was made based on the completion of a favorable Environmental Impact Analysis required under the National Environmental Policy Act, which indicated no significant environmental impacts. Other factors in the decision included the best combination of existing facilities, restricted airspace, cost effectiveness, mission compatibility and good weather.
"Air Force UAS operators are working 24 hours a day, every day to provide a persistent stare over the battlefield to support the ground forces," the general said. "We must train new UAS operators to support this critical capability and the stand up of the second FTU and the subsequent FTU consolidation at Holloman will put the Air Force on a sustainable UAS flight path."
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