On March 4, the US Air Force declared its squadron of MQ-9 Reaper combat drones deploed in at Miroslawiec Air Base in Poland ‘fully operational’.
“Approximately 40 Airmen participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 52nd Fighter Wing’s geographically separated unit, 52nd Expeditionary Operations Group Detachment 2, at Miroslawiec Air Base, Poland, March 1, 2019.
The event marked the opening of new facilities at the detachment and celebrated the 52nd EOG reaching full operational capability.
Some of the facilities recently opened included secure processing centers, a large aircraft maintenance shelter, communications infrastructure and living dormitories for personnel assigned there.
“In addition to the completion of these projects, another important change is the remotely piloted aircraft here are now operated by both contractors and U.S. military personnel,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Greg Semmel, Air National Guard assistant to the commander, United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa. “This flexibility allows for the addition of new missions, and having U.S. military personnel expands the variety of missions we can accomplish.”
Contractors and U.S. military now share control during operations such as the takeoff, mission, and recovery of the aircraft. Currently, the Air National Guard is the U.S. military presence operating the remotely piloted MQ-9 Reaper aircraft there, providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of U.S. foreign policy security. The currently configured unarmed aircraft provides valuable force protection data to the U.S. and international partners,” the Air Force press release reads.
In 2018 it was reported that the US used Larisa Air Force Base in Greece for MQ-9 Reaper operations. However, the stationing of Reapers in Greece was explained by Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon as a temporary measure while repairs were being made at one of the US’ secretive African drone sites. While MQ-9 Reapers deployed in Greece may have been focusing on counter-terror efforts only, the combat drone deployment in Poland focus firmly on supporting the US-NATO-led drive against Russia.
However, this seems to be not enough.
On March 5, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, US EUCOM Commander the NATO Supreme Allied Commander-Europe told the Senate Armed Services Committee said that the US should deploy more troops and warships in Europe in order to to “stay ahead of Russia.”
All these came amid the dramatic increase in US-NATO intelligence gathering operations along the Russian borders.
No surprise that the Russian side considers such steps as provocations. Some experts even say that the US is openly preparing for a hot war in Europe.
This video shows the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper UCAV in action during Taxi, maintenance, take off, and landing (released on November 17, 2016):
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