A team of testers lifts the MQ-9 Reaper UAV
for a landing gear operational check at
Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan.
10/26/2007 - EDWARDS AFB, CA -- The Air Force
Operational Test and Evaluation Center Detachment 5
and the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron recently
tested the MQ-9 Reaper Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
system's ability to deploy to a forward operating
location in support of mission tasking.
The team performed the testing at Kandahar Air Base,
Afghanistan, from Sept. 4 through 25.
"We tested the amount of time required to get the
entire MQ-9 weapon system operational -- from
disassembly and transport to assembly of the aircraft
in a deployed location and technical checks," said 1st
Lt. John Feely, MQ-9 program analyst.
The MQ-9's system includes the aircraft, ground
control station, antennas and all support equipment.
"Unlike manned aircraft, the MQ-9 won't be flown
directly to the forward operating location (when
deployed)," said Tech. Sgt. Alton Chang, 31st Test and
Evaluation Squadron aircraft segment noncommissioned
officer in charge. "All components of the system will
be disassembled, packed up in coffins, loaded into
transport aircraft and flown as cargo to the
Since the Reaper is still in its testing phase, the
Air Force is accelerating the testing process by
performing the deployability test to Afghanistan,
Lieutenant Feely said.
General Atomics, producer of the MQ-9, broke down the
Reaper system and packed it up at the Gray Butte
Auxiliary Airfield, Calif. The aircraft and support
equipment were then shipped to Afghanistan for
operations by the 42nd Attack Squadron at Creech Air
Force Base, Nev.
Once everything was reassembled in Afghanistan, the
ground control station and the aircraft were checked
to ensure nothing was damaged during transit.
"Each individual system was checked according to
technical orders such as sensor systems, flight
controls, engine operation and radios," said Master
Sgt. Jeffery Bailey, 31st TES MQ-9 logistics
"The entire Reaper system should be fully mission
capable in a certain amount of time after arrival in
theater," said Tech. Sgt. Paul Lockwood, 31st TES MQ-9
ground segment noncommissioned officer in charge.
The test went very well, he said.
The Air Force currently has nine Reapers in its
inventory. Its primary mission is to hunt and kill
Source: USAF Edwards AFB Press Release by Senior
Airman Julius Delos Reyes