The Royal Air Force is set to receive another squadron of Reapers.
September 29: The Royal Air Force is set to receive another squadron of MQ-9A Reaper Remotely Piloted Air Vehicles (RPAV), confirmed Group Captain Al Gillespie in a presentation at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.
Currently based at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, USA, 39 Squadron received its fifth Reaper last week and the number of flying hours in Afghanistan has been increased to up to 36 hours of video surveillance a day. Reaper has been supporting ground forces in Operation ‘Herrick’ since October 2007 and has now flown over 13,000 hours in direct support of operations, providing troops with a constant ‘eye in the sky’ and provide an armed response if required.
Group Captain Gillespie said that an additional five Reapers are planned to equip a second squadron by 2012 and that the Main Operating Base would be relocated to RAF Waddington, with only training carried out at Creech AFB. However, he did add the caveat that this was subject to the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the conclusion of which is set to be released next month.