Reaper Benefits of Cooperation

NATO’s new MQ-9 Reaper Users Group met for the first time in Paris this week to share cooperative ISR capabilities, French air force officials announced. USAF Reaper operators along with Britain’s Royal Air Force, the French Armee de l’Air, and Italian Aeronautica Militare are primarily discussing collaboration on remotely piloted aircraft airspace integration, training, simulation, and support, according to a Feb. 4 release. The group aims to cooperatively defray MQ-9 operational costs and enhance interoperability, in addition to sharing operational concepts, and pooling training, logistics, and operational simulation, according to the release. NATO already operates an Alliance E-3A AWACS component, and is enhancing allied airborne ISR with the acquisition of an Alliance Ground Surveillance system based on the RQ-4 Global Hawk. The Netherlands is planning to send its first MQ-9 crews to Holloman AFB, N.M., to begin training ahead of the Royal Netherlands Air Force receiving MQ-9s in 2015, IHS Jane’s reported.