RPA Armament Course Graduates First Airmen

The 363rd Training Squadron at Sheppard AFB, Tex., graduated its first class of airmen from the Air Force’s new remotely piloted aircraft armament apprentice course, according to a base release. The five airmen graduated from the 20-day course on April 8, according to Sheppard’s April 10 release. Prior to this course, airmen headed to an RPA armament assignment received one block of RPA familiarization training in the special missions armament course, but then conducted the rest of their training in the field at the gaining unit, according to the release. However, with the ever-growing multirole use of RPAs, it became apparent that the Air Force needed a more formalized training method. During the course, the airmen receive instruction on aerospace ground equipment and MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 familiarization. “The students go through armament fundamentals with everyone else first,” said SSgt. Ronel Rivera-Santiago, 363rd TRS aircraft armament instructor. “Then they come to us for four weeks of nothing but RPA training.” (Sheppard report by Dan Hawkins)