ROME, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – History was made today at Griffiss International Airport as an MQ-9 Reaper launched from a civilian airport, and landed remotely at another, for the very first time.
“We can be a lot more agile; we can get into places that we normally couldn’t get into, which will obviously complicate things for our adversary,” said Colonel William McCrink, Commander of the 174th Attack Wing.
“Additionally, this platform can be used for search and rescue – if there was a hurricane that came through on the east coast, we could fly overhead we could look for either survivors, but we can also do damage assessment without having to send teams into the area.”
The New York Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing has operated the MQ-9 Reaper since 2009, but now these advanced capabilities allow the MQ-9 to be more dynamic, by flying without the traditional ground logistical support that was previously required.
“At the end of the day, I think it’s relatively the same manpower requirements on the aircrew side, it’s just that we have that persistence, and we can stay airborne for up to 24 hours,” said Colonel McCrink.
There are about 12 of these MQ-9 Reaper aircraft in Syracuse at the moment, but as technology advances, we might be seeing even more.