Exercise ACE Reaper debuts in Hawaii

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Adrian Salazar
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs

Airmen and Marines from across the country joined together for the first Agile Combat Employment Reaper exercise which kicked off Sept. 8 and is expected to run through Oct. 8, 2021. This exercise is one of the very few times the MQ-9 Reapers have flown in the Pacific.

Approximately 60 service members from Holloman AFB; the 432d Wing at Creech AFB, Nevada; and Marine Corps Base, Hawaii are slated to participate in the exercise.

The purpose of ACE Reaper is to demonstrate the MQ-9's capabilities and our service members’ abilities to rapidly mobilize and integrate across multiple domains. The exercise also serves as an opportunity to train in a maritime environment and in a different airspace.

“ACE reaper is a means to exercise capabilities that will be required for the future fight, wherever and whenever that might occur,” said Air Force Maj. Adam Smith, ACE Reaper mission deputy commander. “All of our participants are stepping out of the box and building on skills which helps them become better pilots and operators.”

Preparing for the future fight also means bringing different services together, and ACE Reaper sets the stage for service members to collaborate, learn from best practices and to continue to strengthen tactics and relationships.

Exercises like ACE Reaper demonstrate the capability and willingness for service members to continue to push boundaries, adapt to the needs of the mission, and allow the MQ-9 Reaper to integrate agile combat employment tactics.

“Integrating MQ-9 into the U.S. Marine Corps gives us an unmanned capability that surpasses what we’ve had in the past,” said Marine Corps Maj. Christopher Scheckel, 16th Training Squadron Marine liaison officer. “The Reaper brings a myriad of new capabilities not only to a supported Marine commander on the ground but also allows us to be a far-reaching sensor in support of the naval fleet.”

Marine Corps Base Hawaii is slated to receive MQ-9 Reaper aircraft and aircrew, and by practicing on station with MQ-9s from Holloman and the 432nd Wing, our joint partners are able to test the full extent of their future capabilities.

This exercise prepares Holloman, the 432nd Wing, Marine Corps aircrew and support personnel for future joint exercises like Rim of the Pacific exercise which the world's largest international maritime warfare exercise hosted by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

One of Holloman’s mission priorities is to train combat-ready F-16 Viper and MQ-9 Reaper aircrew. This exercise serves as a testament to the 49th Wing’s continuous effort to fulfill that priority and enhance joint-operation capabilities.