LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The 432nd Wing hosted the second Remotely Piloted Aircraft weapons competition June 23-28.
The 432nd Wing Hunt, formerly known as Gun Smoke, consisted of 18 teams from 14 squadrons, 10 MQ-9 Reaper teams and the rest with the MQ-1 Predator.
Each team was comprised of a pilot, sensor operator and intelligence Airman, who worked together to formulate a mission plan, evaluate threats and develop a strategy to execute the mission effectively.
“It was a total force integration effort with local, geographically separated units and Air Force Reserve units,” said Capt. Marcus from the 432nd Operations Support Squadron. “Due to the fiscal constraints, we limited the competition to only aircrews that could do Remote Split Operations from the local area, saving thousands of dollars.”
This type of training and friendly competition affords the teams and each individual a scenario they could encounter down range.
“Training on the Nellis Test and Training Range allows RPA crews who typically fly in Afghanistan to practice against different threats and mission sets,” Marcus said. “The 432nd Wing Hunt prepares crews for this fight, as well as the next one.”
To further the realism and intense competition live GBU-12s, a 500-pound laser-guided bomb, were dropped by the MQ-9 in the southern ranges.
“For most of these crews, it was the first time they dropped a live GBU-12,” Marcus said. “It’s important to give the crews an opportunity to test their skills, and practice tactics before having to go into the next combat environment.”
The 432nd Wing Hunt also provides an opportunity for the RPA members to build camaraderie while challenging the squadrons in a realistic and tactical environment.
“Often times, the RPA community fights to train, whereas most military units train to fight,” Marcus said. “This competition promotes esprit de corps with a challenging scenario meant to test crew’s knowledge, mission planning and execution to be the best.”
The winners are as follows:
MQ-1B Top Squadron -15th Reconnaissance Squadron
MQ-1B Top Pilot – 867th RS
MQ-1B Top Sensor Operator – 867th RS
MQ-1B Top Intelligence – 15th RS
MQ-9 Top Squadron – 22nd RS
MQ-9 Top Pilot – 29th Attack Squadron
MQ-9 Top Sensor Operator – 22nd RS
MQ-9 Top Intelligence – 22nd RS
Best Aircraft Launch Crew – 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
“Tiger” Aircraft Maintenance Unit
Best GCS Launch Crew – Lynx Systems Maintenance Unit
Best Weapons Load Crew – 432nd AMXS “Reaper” AMU
Best Overall Maintenance Unit – 432nd Aircraft Communication Maintenance Squadron