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11th Reconnaissance Squadron expands role in Red Flag

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- The 11th Reconnaissance Squadron is expanding its role with the multi-purpose, unmanned, MQ-1B Predator aircraft during Red Flag 06-02.

According to Lt. Col. Ken Johnson, 11th RS operations officer, and Capt. Eric Fagerland, chief of weapons and tactics, their purpose for this Red Flag is to further educate the Allied Forces on the capability of the Predator.

"We want them to gain more experience with the Predator before they are deployed to an area where it is flying," said Captain Fagerland. "Combining our training with this Red Flag will give our NATO partners an opportunity to see the Predator in action. Familiarization of this aircraft before a real-world engagement is important."

Additionally, Captain Fagerland noted that it was also excellent continued training for the Predator pilots and sensor operators.

The Predator, a medium-altitude, long-endurance, remotely piloted aircraft, will be placed with the Blue Forces flying against the Aggressor teams during the second half of the scheduled Red Flag.

"We will be working the second half of the exercise because that portion will take place in the southern part of the range, where the Predator launches and recovers from," said Captain Fagerland. "This is an ideal situation for the squadron and Red Flag participants to integrate and understand the coordination and capabilities of the Predator more fully."

Predator involvement will include maneuvers with the Multi-Spectral Targeting System, with inherent AGM-114 Helllfire missile targeting capability. The aircraft can employ two laser-guided Hellfire anti-tank missiles with the Multi-Spectral Targeting System ball. However, for this Red Flag, the Hellfire missile employments will be simulated but will provide realistic training and familiarization to all participants.

One Predator will be used during this Red Flag, and one pilot and two sensor operators will provide the expertise to give the NATO forces a close-up and personal look at the aircraft.

NATO countries scheduled to participate will be Canada, France, Germany and Singapore.

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