174th Attack Wing to Conduct Live-Fire Training at Fort Drum

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An MQ-9 Reaper takes off at Wheeler-Sack Army Air Field in Fort Drum, N.Y., Feb. 14, 2012.

FORT DRUM, NY (12/17/2012)(readMedia)-- Members of the New York Air National Guard's 174 Attack Wing will begin remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) live-fire training at Fort Drum's Joint Air to Ground range complex this week to better prepare Air Force personnel for their close air support missions that protect Soldiers in close combat environments.

Range operations will include both afternoon and evening events as aircrews train for close air support and reconnaissance missions in both day and night environments.

North Country residents may notice the sound of high explosive bombs at the range, especially with cooler temperatures in the evenings. When air is cold, it is also more dense and a better conductor of sound over distance.

U.S. military aircraft regularly use Fort Drum's Joint Air to Ground range complex for live munitions training. However, this training with the MQ-9 Reaper RPA marks the first time pilots have used this airframe to drop live munitions on the Fort Drum range since the Attack Wing transitioned from F16s to the MQ-9. MQ-9 aircrew have been dropping inert munitions since January 2012, so all of the procedural and safety protocols are well established.

"The ability for the aircrew to train with live munitions is crucial," said Col. Greg Semmel, 174th Attack Wing Commander. "It allows the aircrew to experience weapons release and delivery from the aircraft and then maximize

weapons effects on the target. This live training is something Air Force aircrew have been accomplishing in all aircraft since the range opened for operations."

The 174th Attack Wing range staff also act as a single point of contact at Fort Drum for Air National Guard flying operations. They support other active duty and reserve component flying units and provide the coordination

and scheduling required between Army units requesting close air support training and Air National Guard flying units that can provide those assets.

Members of the community with specific inquiries about the range training can contact the gunnery range at 1-800-228-3567.

Media with inquiries should contact Maj. Jeffrey Brown, 174th Attack Wing Chief of Public Affairs, (315)663-8734, of by e-mail at jeffrey.brown.5@ang.af.mil.