Team Creech conducts MQ-9 IRF training

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  • By 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing conducted an immediate response force (IRF) training at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. March 22- 26, 2021.

This was the first training held at Creech to include C-130 aircrew and Airmen at the 40th Airlift Squadron, from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

An IRF is the rapid mobilization and deployment of a Air Force Weapons Systems. The goal of MQ-9 IRF development effort is to reduce the deployment timeline of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Enterprise from months to days. 

“This will afford the Joint Chiefs of Staff or combatant commanders a greater freedom of movement in regard to the MQ-9, and the agility to project airpower in great power competition environments,” said Lt. Col. Bruce, 432nd WG/432nd AEW IRF lead. “The ability to pack, transport and set-up an MQ-9 launch and recovery element at a new location in an expedited manner will challenge high end adversary’s targeting cycles and ensure MQ-9 relevancy into the future of high threat environments throughout a multi-domain spectrum.”

The training focused on loading MQ-9 aircraft, parts, and a ground control station onto C-130s. After the cargo was loaded, the aircrews simulated taking the equipment to another location.

Bruce said in reference to recent Air Force Chief of Staff’s priorities, “Accelerate the way we change, accelerate the way we advance, or we're going to lose.”

Over the past 25 years that the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Enterprise has been operating. While the enterprise continues to do so, it is important to develop an IRF capability so that it can also be projected in a near-peer environment or a great power competition.

According to Bruce, it took a lot of units across the installation to make the training possible.  There was maintenance support from the 432nd Maintenance Squadron, logistical support from the 432nd Support Squadron, medics on standby from the Creech Medical Clinic and C-130 aircraft from the 40th Airlift Squadron out of Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

The 432nd MXS, commanded by Lt. Col. Kyle, was in charge of sortie generation effort for the IRF movement.

According to Kyle, there were a lot of lessons learned from the training, which ultimately made the event a success. Investing in IRF training and education while collaborating with other units strengthens relationships, improves readiness and bolsters lethality.

“Rapid ISR is something that's going to be very, very valuable in future conflicts,” Kyle said. “Our ability as an enterprise to get to any location in the world, and set up an operation rapidly in order to provide combatant commanders crisis response is going to be a force multiplier, and is going to continue to make this aircraft relevant in the future.”