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March 11, 2019

MQ-1B, MQ-9 flight hours hit 4 million

The MQ-1B Predator and MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft reached a historic flight hour milestone March 1.

Aug. 30, 2018

Phantom of Takur Ghar: The Predator above Roberts Ridge

A once quiet landscape turned battlefield, the clash of gunfire and shouts ripped through the Shahi-Kot Valley in the early hours of March 4, 2002. As part of an early war effort that targeted al Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan, the Battle of Roberts Ridge is still known as one of the deadliest engagements during Operation Anaconda. Above the Takur Ghar mountain top, an MQ-1 Predator aircrew became an unforeseen, close air support asset for a desperate joint special operations team in their time of need.

March 9, 2018

Sun setting the MQ-1 Predator: The final salute

The Air Force held the MQ-1 Predator’s official retirement ceremony with Airmen from the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Remotely Piloted Aircraft enterprise leaders, and MQ-1 alumni March 9, 2018, at Creech. The MQ-1 ceremony included the final local flight by the Airmen of the 489th Attack Squadron and the last combat line flown by the 15th Expeditionary Attack Squadron in an undisclosed area of responsibility.

Feb. 14, 2018

Sun setting the MQ-1 Predator: A history of innovation

The MQ-1 Predator is a Remotely Piloted Aircraft flown by aircrew assigned to the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Creech and units around the world. It has contributed to the U.S. warfighting efforts in unprecedented ways and is scheduled to sunset on March 9, 2018 as the Air Force transitions to an all MQ-9 Reaper force. With the introduction of aerial warfare, countries all over the world raced to the skies to gain tactical advantage over their adversaries. Devices such as balloons were used in early conflict for reconnaissance and, while the thought of such technology seems primitive today, that same pursuit of aerial superiority ultimately inspired the MQ-1.

Aug. 16, 2017

A legacy of valor: 489th ATKS achieves centennial

The 489th Attack Squadron has played an important part of airpower and reached its centennial anniversary on Aug. 13, 2017, despite multiple duties and designations.

Aug. 3, 2017

Inspired by air show, boy becomes USAF pilot

Inspiration can be fleeting or it can be enduring. As seven-year-old boy, Richard felt this powerful drive during a family outing to an air show, he had no idea it would shape his future career helping him become a U.S. Air Force pilot. "Lethbridge was the first air show I went to when I was a kid,” said Maj. Richard, 432nd Wing MQ-1 Predator pilot. "We looked at all the airplanes and there wasn’t a single airplane that made more of an impression on me than the C-5 [Galaxy] did. I was just enthralled and I didn't quite know why, but even at that age I knew I wanted to be a part of it and fly it. It became my greatest dream."

July 24, 2017

Bulls celebrate 75 years of aviation excellence

For the past 75 years, the 17th Attack Squadron Bulls have played an integral part in the defense of the nation by providing combatant commanders with reconnaissance capabilities, and more recently, with precision attack capabilities. On July 23, 1942, in the midst of World War II, the 17th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron activated, and was tasked with flying the P-38 Lightning and B-25 Mitchell over the Pacific Theater, to observe and map enemy movements. After the war, the 17th transitioned to aircraft such as the RF-84 Thunderflash, the RF-101 Voodoo, and the RF-80 Shooting Star. In 1958, the squadron realigned under the 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, now known as the 432nd Wing.

July 7, 2017

Premier MQ-1, MQ-9 Wing changes hands

The men and women of the leading MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper wing welcomed their new commander during the 432nd Wing change of command ceremony July 6, 2017, at Creech AFB. Col. Julian Cheater assumed command from Col. Case Cunningham in front of a crowd of Airmen, peers and family members while Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12th Air Force commander, presided over the day’s ceremony. During the event, Kelly congratulated the wing on its accomplishments.

June 9, 2017

Cleared hot: When predators and reapers engage

Following the mission brief and pre-flight checks, an aircrew consisting of an officer pilot in command and a career enlisted aviator sensor operator observe a target in an area of responsibility overseas from a cockpit in the United States and waits for the green light from a joint terminal attack controller on the ground. Anticipation heightens as the JTAC confirms the target and gives the aircrew the clearance to attack. The aircrew then reviews checklists before engaging, adrenaline begins to seep in and the whirring from electronic components in the cockpit recedes from awareness. Their concentration sharpens and as the pilot squeezes the trigger, and a laser guided AGM-114 Hellfire missile is released. The sensor operator hones in on the objective at hand by keeping the laser designator crosshairs precisely over the target and guiding the missile. The countdown begins until impact...10, 9, 8…

May 31, 2017

Total Force wingmen enable MQ-1, MQ-9 mission

In the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper community, active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Airmen incorporate as a total force integration to provide 60 combat lines or 60 aircraft in the air, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. This team of aircrew, maintenance and other career fields ensure mission success by enabling persistent strike and reconnaissance capabilities to eliminate enemies and keep ground and coalition forces safe.