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NEWS | Jan. 18, 2024

Texas Air Guard Tests Agile Combat Employment with MQ-9 Reaper

By Sean Cowher, 147th Attack Wing Public Affairs (Texas Air National Guard)

GALVESTON, Texas - The 147th Attack Wing used an MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial system for satellite launch and recovery operations Jan. 10, conducting Agile Combat Employment operations at Scholes International Airport.

The operation demonstrated the wing’s adaptability, agility and commitment to staying at the forefront in an ever-changing strategic landscape.

ACE has become a critical component of military strategy. As traditional warfare tactics evolve, the need for rapid deployment, flexibility and resilience in the face of dynamic threats has increased. ACE emphasizes the ability to disperse and operate from austere locations, increasing the operational envelope and reducing vulnerability to adversaries. 

The 147th Attack Wing’s initiative reflects the Air National Guard’s commitment to staying at the forefront of these strategic developments by keeping pace with rapid technological development.

The 147th Attack Wing’s test at Scholes International Airport demonstrated the ability to launch and recover unmanned aerial systems from satellite locations, extending the reach and flexibility of combat operations.

“Galveston’s airport offered us the perfect blend of challenges and opportunities,” said Lt. Col. Brian Chesko, 147th Attack Wing Maintenance Squadron commander. 

The launch and recovery operation involved meticulous planning and coordination between the wing and civilian partners. The ability to launch and recover from a nontraditional location such as the Scholes airport showcased the adaptability of MQ-9s to employ the ACE concept. 

The 147th Attack Wing demonstrated that its MQ-9 personnel can evolve from a traditionally large launch and recovery package and deploy smaller teams and equipment to conduct operations in dynamic and challenging environments. This aspect of ACE is crucial for maintaining a continuous and responsive military presence, especially in regions where traditional military infrastructure may be limited.

The integration of advanced technology, dedicated Airmen and strategic planning showcased the wing’s commitment to forging ahead in an evolving security landscape.



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