MQ-9 par­tic­i­pates in Red Flag 17-1, in­te­grates with F-35

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Two MQ-9 Reapers and mul­ti­ple air­crews from the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Ex­pe­di­tionary Wing par­tic­i­pated in Red Flag 17-1 from Jan­uary 23 to Fe­bru­ary 10, 2017, at Nel­lis Air Force Base, Ne­vada. This was the first time the MQ-9 and F-35A Light­ning II have in­te­grated in a Red Flag.

“Specif­i­cally for this Red Flag our de­sire and ob­jec­tives were to in­te­grate in com­bat search and res­cue mis­sions,” said Cap­tain Joseph, 42nd At­tack Squadron pi­lot. “We wanted to demon­strate that we are a ca­pa­ble and fea­si­ble air­craft to pro­vide on-scene com­mand dur­ing a CSAR event.”

“The F-35, on the times we worked to­gether, pro­vided sup­pres­sion of en­emy air de­fence and cov­er­age in or­der to ex­e­cute our mis­sion,” Joseph said. “They would take out any sur­face-toair mis­siles or air-to-air threats, pro­tect­ing us [if needed].” Dur­ing the ex­er­cise the MQ-9 and F-35 crews were learn­ing about how to in­te­grate with each other. “The big­gest ed­u­ca­tion point was how to com­mu­ni­cate ef­fec­tively to each other what our de­sires are and how to get the same re­sults,” Ja­cob said.

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