Today, the House Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the FY14 Defense Appropriations bill which contained language, requested by Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42), that requires the Air Force to submit a report on its Reaper UAV placement strategy.
“I continue to urge the Air Force to prioritize the replacement of MQ-1 Predators with MQ-9 Reapers at installations, like March Air Reserve Base, that already have training schoolhouses,” said Rep. Calvert, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. “I am hopeful that the Air Force’s MQ-9 placement strategy recognizes the benefits of the infrastructure and historical knowledge that’s already in place at the existing training facilities.”
Below is the specific Appropriations bill report language regarding the report requested by Rep. Calvert:
“The Committee directs the Secretary of the Air Force to submit a report to the congressional defense committees with the fiscal year 2015 budget request providing a detailed, location- by-location schedule for the basing of MQ–9 Reapers including, where appropriate, the replacement and planned disposition of MQ–1 Predator aircraft to be replaced by the MQ–9. The report shall also include the criteria by which the Air Force determines the order of priority for MQ–9 beddown locations and the impact that MQ–1/MQ–9 transition will have on existing MQ–1 flying training units.”
Currently, the 163d Reconnaissance Wing operates a Predator Formal Training Unit at March Air Reserve Base. The unit's schoolhouse Predators are stored, maintained, launched and recovered at Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA).