Air Force wing is first combat unit with UAVs

Unmanned flight formally came off the “experimental” list when the Air Force stood up its first unmanned aerial systems wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nev.

The Air Force has reactivated the 432nd Wing, a unit that dates to World War II and is now the first-ever combat wing to be equipped with MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.

The wing took over Predator and Reaper UAV squadrons operated by the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.  The new wing will have 160 Predators and 60 Reapers.

Unlike the Predator, which was developed as a technology demonstrator, the Reaper is more of a strike aircraft, with a larger, more robust airframe, increased speed and a much greater payload, including not only the Predator’s Hellfire missiles, but also ordnance such as 5,000-pound bombs and the Joint Direct Attack Munition.

Source:  Stars and Stripes

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