Airmen have assumed responsibility for MQ-9 Reaper maintenance at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, for the first time since these armed remotely piloted aircraft began combat operations in that nation in September 2007. Nearly 75 airmen last week took over the maintenance mission from a civilian contract force. “We’re really excited to be here to be able to do this,” said Captain Matthew, MQ-9 Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer with the 451st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. He added, “We’re doing a job and we’re here to support an important part of the mission.” Matthew said the Reaper is “very simplistic and maintenance friendly,” just like its little cousin, the MQ-1 Predator. “My brother is a Marine, so that makes me appreciate my job,” said SSgt. Daniel, MQ-9 AMU electrical and environmental systems specialist. (Kandahar report by SrA. Melissa B. White)
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.