USAF MQ-9 detachment in Poland becomes fully operational

5 March 2019 (Last Updated March 5th, 2019 11:26)

The US Air Force (USAF) has achieved the full operational capability of the MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) detachment at Miroslawiec Air Base, Poland.

USAF MQ-9 detachment in Poland becomes fully operational
A remotely piloted MQ-9 Reaper taxis toward the runway at Miroslawiec Air Base, Poland. Credit: USAF / Senior Airman Preston Cherry.

The US Air Force (USAF) has achieved the full operational capability of the MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) detachment at Miroslawiec Air Base, Poland.

The event was marked by a ceremony attended by US airmen from Headquarters US Air Forces in Europe, 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany and the 118th Wing, Tennessee Air National Guard.

MQ-9 RPA detachment became fully operational at the 52nd Expeditionary Operations Group Detachment 2, which is assigned to the 52 FW.

Developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI), the MQ-9s have been operating out of Poland since May.

The 52 FW operates the MQ-9 Reaper aircraft to promote regional security and stability.

“In January, the USAF’s new Block 50 ground control station controlled an MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle for the first time.”

The USAF completed the construction of several facilities, including secure processing centres, a large aircraft maintenance shelter, communications infrastructure and living dormitories for personnel assigned to the mission.

Operating the aircraft from forward locations in Europe will enable the US to boost relationships with Nato allies and partners.

In January, the USAF’s new Block 50 ground control station controlled an MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle for the first time.

Designed to support surveillance and reconnaissance missions, the aircraft offers an endurance of more than 27 hours and can achieve speeds of 240k true airspeed.

Powered by Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine, MQ-9 has the ability to operate at an altitude of up to 50,000ft and can carry a payload of 3,850lb.

GA-ASI has delivered the aircraft to the airforces of the US, UK, Italy, Spain and France.