British media outlets are reporting that the Royal Air Force is now flying its MQ-9 Reaper drones from Lincolnshire as well as from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.
The Guardian has reported that the crews based at RAF Waddington are working in tandem with their colleagues in the U.S. providing round the clock operations in Afghanistan due to the time difference between the UK and US.
No 13 Squadron stood up at Waddington at the end of October to operate the MQ-9 Reaper alongside 39 Squadron based at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.
The Sky News website quotes the British MoD as saying “XIII Sqn have commenced supporting ISAF and Afghan ground troops in Afghanistan with armed intelligence and surveillance missions, which are remotely piloted from RAF Waddington.”
The Guardian quoted a source as saying “We aren’t flying any more operations than we were before, but with the time differences between the US, Afghanistan and the UK, it is now possible for pilots at Waddington to work in relay with the those in the US.”
It is thought that the RAF has three control stations at its drone ‘hub’ at Waddington and these have gone through a very tough testing process to make sure these new stations are fit for purpose.
Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com
Image credit: U.S. Air Force