USAF UAV wingUSAF stands up first UAV wing
The US Air Force's first unmanned aircraft systems wing stood up May 1 at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. As Col.
Christopher Chambliss assumed command of the 432nd a piece of history was revived, and a course for the way ahead continued.
"This is a monumental day for the Air Force," said Colonel Chambliss. "Having a wing dedicated to unmanned aircraft systems is a logical and important step in continuing the Air Force's role in being the world's greatest air and space power and is equally critical to the Air Force's most important customers, the American warfighters."
The reactivation of this wing is a historic event, but it shouldn't be considered a starting point. Forming an unmanned aircraft systems wing has been in the work for about four years, according to Colonel Chambliss. "The new wing is an evolution in the Air Force's UAS program and provides the next step forward in medium- and high-altitude unmanned air systems," he said.
The MQ-9 Reaper is primarily a strike aerial, which has the surveillance capabilities of a Predator, but can fly faster, at a higher altitude and can carry almost 4,000 pounds of munitions. The Predator is a medium-altitude UAV that can fly up to 25,000 feet. The Reaper is able to fly up to 50,000 feet.
"Although this standup is a landmark achievement for the Air Force and demonstrates our dedication to aiding the fight in the global war on terrorism, for those who use the Air Force's UAS assets on a day-to-day basis -- the Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen on the ground, and even the pilots flying the MQ-1's and MQ-9's -- this transition of authority will seem transparent," said Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, 12th Air Force commander.