AFSOC Activates RPA Launch Unit

Air Force Special Operations Command stood up the 12th Special Operations Squadron as its designated remotely piloted aircraft launch-and-recovery unit during a ceremony at Cannon AFB, N.M., last week. “This is the first squadron of its kind,” Lt. Col. Josh Hartig, 12th SOS commander, said at the May 28 stand-up. “Typically, our work of taking off and landing RPAs exists as an element in a mission squadron or a formal training unit,” he added in the unit release. The unit was initially activated as a detachment in 2013, and will continue its mission generating sorties across US Central Command and US Africa Command for the 2nd SOS, 3rd SOS, and 33rd SOS. “Our airmen deploy downrange in order to take off and land aircraft via line of sight frequencies” to augment mission controllers, Hartig said. “We are still gaining pilots and sensor operators, and our tasking will expand as the squadron does,” he added.