Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hurlburt getting MQ-9 squadron

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. – An MQ-9 Reaper squadron is coming to Hurlburt Field by late 2019, making the base the second Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) installation to host a drone unit. AFSOC's active-duty MQ-9 Reaper drone personnel have previously been assigned only to Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The squadron will bring an additional 60 personnel to the AFSOC headquarters installation, according to the Air Force. The unit coming to Hurlburt is a Mission Control Element Squadron. Drone operations require two separate aircrews, a mission control element that is responsible for executing missions, and a second aircrew to handle takeoffs and landings. There's another drone unit at Hurlburt Field, but it's an Air Force Reserve unit. The 2nd Special Operations Squadron, part of the Air Force Reserve's 919th Special Operations Wing located at Duke Field near Crestview, has been based at Hurlburt Field for four years. Its personnel fly drones remotely in various places around the world. It was six months ago that the Air Force announced plans to bring a drone squadron to Tyndall Air Force Base, 80 miles away near Panama City. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 05/30/18) Previous related: MQ-9 focus of celebrationTyndall chosen for MQ-9 wing; Eglin, Tyndall eyed for MQ-9 wing