Plan to Bring RPAs to New York Air Guard Unit on Hold

Last fall, as part of jockeying over the Air Force’s force structure, the New York Air National Guard’s 107th Airlift Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station appeared to be on tap to receive a new mission—operating MQ-1 Predator or MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft. The unit currently flies C-130s. However, while the Air Force’s Fiscal 2013 force structure plan, as reflected in this fiscal year’s defense authorization act, identified the wing as a unit that would convert to the Reaper, that change is currently on hold due to the limitations imposed by the Fiscal 2012 budget continuing resolution and the looming threat of sequestration, National Guard Bureau spokeswoman Rose Richeson told the Daily Report on Feb. 26. She said the Guard “can’t execute an implementation plan at this time” to bring the Reapers to Niagara Falls. The wing is meant to be capable of operating three MQ-9 combat air patrols, said Richeson. Each CAP requires some 140 airmen to operate and deliver actionable intelligence, she said.