Reaper lands at Ellington
By Staff Sgt. Daniel Martinez, 147 Attack Wing
/ Published August 09, 2017
ELLINGTON FIELD JOINT RESERVE BASE, Texas --
The 147th Attack Wing at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Texas, has a history of contributing strength and air dominance to the U. S. Air Force since its formation as the 111th Observation Squadron in 1917.
The 147th ATKW has demonstrated air power in the more recent years by providing support to many military operations using their F-16 Fighting Falcons and the MQ-1 Predators. These aircraft have supported our men and women overseas and helped turn the tide on many occasions; however, these airframes are no longer here at Ellington Field.
The 147th F-16s deployed numerous times and MQ-1 Predators flew over 120,000 combat flight hours in support of DOD operations around the world.
Ellington’s 147th ATKW received their first MQ-9 Reaper on July 28, 2017.
The MQ-9 Reaper will continue the remotely piloted mission of its predecessor, the MQ-1 Predator.
“There’s a lot of energy. Everyone is excited and ready to get going with training and operational checks on the airframe,” said Senior Master Sgt. David Mather, production superintendent of the 147th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “We are still receiving a lot of equipment that will help with maintenance and training, but overall we are excited to be one of the first bases to receive the newest model of the MQ-9 Reaper.
Many of the maintainers have experience working with the airframe and will be valuable assets to the maintenance team, said Mather.
“Many of us here have deployed with the MQ-9 Reaper and are very excited to finally have it here.” said Staff Sgt. Marcus Gaines, a maintainer with the 147th AMXS. “The MQ-9 Reaper is much larger and is more maintenance friendly.”
The MQ-9 Reaper is faster, larger and has the ability to carry a larger payload than the MQ-1 Predator.
The 147th ATKW is expecting more MQ-9 Reapers to join their fleet in the near future.