The MQ-9 Reaper model made its first transnational debut at the Lethbridge International Air Show July 14-16, 2017, in Lethbridge, Alberta province, Canada.
Sixteen Airmen from the 432nd Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., assembled the MQ-9 and interacted with Canadian citizens on the mission and capabilities of the Reaper and its crews.
“We set up the static display of the MQ-9 and we were able to talk about its capabilities and dispel some rumors,” Maj. Richard, 432nd Wing MQ-1 Predator pilot. “This is always a great opportunity and this was one of the best static displays I’ve seen at an airshow.”
During the event, Canada residents asked many questions regarding the capabilities of the aircraft, but most were surprised by the multi-role platform and its various uses.
“Everyone was very friendly and welcoming,” said Senior Airman Chris, 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. “They made our experience even better since they were very interested in what we do and how we do it.”
“They most common things people said was that they didn’t know it was as big as it is and they didn’t understand the full spectrum of what we do,” Richard said.
The air show also provided the opportunity for Airmen to dispel myths around the MQ-1 and MQ-9 enterprise.
“Some thought it was just for spying and some thought it was just for weapons, but they didn’t realize all of the capabilities we have.”
Aircrews explained that the Reaper is well suited for close air support, air interdiction, strike coordination, reconnaissance and combat search and rescue.
Aircraft maintainers were also present to explain the maintenance needs of the aircraft, the various munition options available to combatant commanders and how maintenance impacts the reliability of the Predators and Reapers.
Remotely piloted aircraft such as the Reaper only fly over government-sanctioned air space and in operational combat zones so, the aircraft and its crew were transported by airlift from a C-5 Galaxy stationed at nearby Travis Air Force Base, Calif.
The air show included static displays from other U.S. Air Force assets such as the C-17 Globemaster and featured air demonstrations from the A-10 Thunderbolt IIs.
A U.S. Marine CV-22 Osprey, U.S. Navy C-2 Greyhound and the U.S. Army Golden Knights were also on hand to demonstrate United States military air power to our neighbors to the North. Spectators also enjoyed a B-25 Mitchell and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.
“The airshow was a complete success and we hope to be able to showcase our airpower for years to come,” Richard said.
Air shows serve to educate and enhance public awareness of U.S. military capabilities, honor our heritage and promote positive community and international relations while showcasing our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.