Mission complete: AF MQ-9s close out successful RIMPAC exercise

After weeks of non-stop training scenarios on land, at sea and in the air, Rim of the Pacific 2022 concluded Aug. 4.

Among the 25,000 service members participating in the exercise was a small MQ-9 Reaper detachment comprised of active-duty, Air National Guard and Reserve Airmen from Reaper squadrons across the country. Although small in numbers, the MQ-9 enterprise left an indelible mark on the world’s largest maritime exercise by demonstrating the remotely piloted aircraft’s capabilities at RIMPAC for the first time.

“The MQ-9 Reaper community made its debut at RIMPAC 2022 and led the exercise with 32 sorties in 22 days spanning 316 airborne hours supporting a wide range of mission sets,” said U.S. Air National Guard Capt. Philip West, RIMPAC MQ-9 Maritime Force integration lead. “We became the most requested asset by partner nations, receiving as many as three times the requests as any other.”

U.S. Air Force maintenance Airmen from the 163d Attack Wing and 49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron refuel an MQ-9A Reaper assigned to the 163d Attack Wing, after landing at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022.

Maintenance Airmen from the 163d Attack Wing and 49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron refuel an MQ-9A Reaper assigned to the 163d Attack Wing, after landing at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022, July 26, 2022. Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, four submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 29 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Emerson Nuñez)

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