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BULLSEYE                                     News                                                                                                                                                          3April 8, 2016                                                                                                                                                              

RPAs, from page 1 _____________                                                                                                         U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen    makes us feel safer as well.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Supporting service members on the
maintained by the 432nd Aircraft Com-        Airman 1st Class Ashley, 432nd Aircraft Communications Maintenance Squadron radio
munications Maintenance Squadron,            frequencies transmission technician checks a control monitor and alarm computer for                                                                      ground has been a frequent use for
the LRE crew launches the aircraft and       discrepancies Aug. 19, 2015, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. The ACMS is responsible for                                                                  the MQ-1 and MQ-9 community in re-
climbs to an altitude where they hand-       maintaining all communications equipment needed to fly a remotely piloted aircraft.                                                                      cent years. In some instances, MQ-1 and
off control of the aircraft off to the MCE                                                                                                                                                            MQ-9s are able to track high value targets
located stateside, via satellite links.      to determine the difference between a                                                                        with no problems, basically we’re moni-     at night using an invisible infrared laser
                                             woman holding a child and a man hold-                                                                        toring all the factors so the mission can   which helps designate and illuminate
   “During the hand-off of the aircraft,     ing a gun on zoomed-in images.                                                                               go smoothly.”                               targets for our ground forces.  
ACMS maintainers in the GCS enable
and ensure a good Ku link to the MCE            Mission taskings given by are the                                                                            During the mission, if a strike is          If the need for a strike arises, the crew
crews,” said Senior Airman Robert,           air operations centers (AOC) under the                                                                       needed, a joint terminal attack controller  is prepared at a moment’s notice with
432nd ACMS training monitor.                 respective combatant commands. The                                                                           can radio MQ-1 or MQ-9 crews for help       precision accuracy.
                                             AOC determines where the aircraft will                                                                       to coordinate an attack on enemy forces.
   After the hand-off the MCE crew will      go, what mission is needed, and also give                                                                                                                   Not only can RPAs strike static targets,
fly the aircraft and carry out the mis-      orders and guidance should the need for                                                                         “Partnering two different capabilities   but also because of the high loitering
sion, in of the specified mission areas;     change occur.                                                                                                from the air and ground provides us         time, moving targets as well.  
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnais-                                                                                                                with the ability to develop patterns of
sance (ISR), close-air support (CAS), air       The wing operations center (WOC)                                                                          life for targets,” said a JTAC assigned to     Because a CAP is flown on a continu-
interdiction, combat search and rescue       acts as a central hub for critical mission                                                                   Air Force Special Operations Command.       ous basis, 24 hours a day, seven days a
(CSAR), or strike coordination and re-       support to the aircrew to accomplish the                                                                     “If and when the time comes to strike, we   week, 365 days a year, revolving shifts
connaissance (SCAR).                         tasking orders from the AOC.                                                                                 can do so with accuracy. This is instru-    of Airmen in every career field rotate
                                                                                                                                                          mental in moving to a safer military for    throughout the CAP before the plane is
   “RPAs allow us to not only conduct           “The main job of the WOC is to take                                                                       future conflicts. Not to mention, having    landed and another one takes its place.
ISR and CAS, but also buddy lase for         care of the guys flying the mission to                                                                       the RPAs provide overwatch from the sky
other assets, perform convoy and raid        ensure mission success,” said Maj. Steven,                                                                                                                  After the mission is completed and the
overwatch and even provide humanitar-        432nd WG/432nd AEW WOC deputy                                                                                                                            plane is ready to land, the MCE crew will
ian support,” said Maj. Patrick, 432nd       director. “In the WOC we’re making                                                                                                                       fly back to base, handing the aircraft back
Wing chief of combat plans. “The versa-      sure crews are available, the weather is                                                                                                                 to the LR crew for landing.
tility of these aircraft give the supported  good, and planes can take off and fly
commander a variety of options.”                                                                                                                                                                         The mission may be done, but the work
                                                                                                                                                                                                      isn’t, just yet. For now, the crews have
   While the pilot is busy flying the air-                                                                                                                                                            kept friendly forces safe for another day.
craft and the sensor operator is operat-
ing the multi-spectral targeting system                                                                                                                                                                  “What our remotely piloted aircraft
(MTS ball), the mission coordinator                                                                                                                                                                   professionals are doing in today’s fight
is also engaged by providing real-time                                                                                                                                                                and in preparing for future conflicts is
intelligence.                                                                                                                                                                                         simply incredible,” said General Hawk
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Carlisle, Air Combat Command com-
   “During the mission MICs are coor-                                                                                                                                                                 mander. “RPAs and their operators are in
dinating with the supporting unit and                                                                                                                                                                 the highest demand from our Combatant
liaising between the crew and the unit                                                                                                                                                                Commanders because of the situational
because they’re not flying the plane or                                                                                                                                                               awareness and strike capabilities that
operating the sensor [MTS Ball],” said                                                                                                                                                                they enable. Despite being some of the
Senior Airman Aaron, 432nd WG/432nd                                                                                                                                                                   newest weapon systems in the Air Force
AEW intelligence evaluator. “They’re                                                                                                                                                                  inventory, RPAs fulfill critical demands
looking for changes in terrain, weather,                                                                                                                                                              in every theater 24 hours a day, 365 days
threats, and weapons systems because                                                                                                                                                                  a year.”
intelligence personnel can provide every-
thing real time to the pilot and sensor.”                                                                                                                                                                Editor’s note: The last names of cer-
                                                                                                                                                                                                      tain individuals in this story have been
   Also supporting the crew is the dis-                                                                                                                                                               removed for security reasons.
tributed ground system (DGS), a group
of imagery analysts who watch the live
feed coming from the RPA. They are able

                                                                                              U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen                                                                                                     U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cory D. Payne

Staff Sgt. Matthew, 432nd Wing sensor operator flies a training mission Oct. 13, 2015, at Creech                                                          An MQ- Reaper remotely piloted aircraft performs aerial maneuvers over Creech Air Force
Air Force Base, Nev. The 432nd Wing set a record of weapon strikes in July of 2015, and then                                                              Base, Nev., June 25, 2015. The MQ-9 Reaper is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude,
again in August helping countless U.S. and coalition forces return home to their families.                                                                long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft that is employed primarily as an intelligence-
                                                                                                                                                          collection asset and secondarily against dynamic execution targets.
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