Shaw AFB selected to host new Reaper UAV unit

WASHINGTON. U.S. Air Force officials have selected Shaw Air Force Base (just outside of Sumter, North Carolina) as the preferred location to base a new MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) group, including mission-control elements.

In announcing the decision, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said, “Shaw AFB was selected because it was the best option to help us diversify assignment opportunities for personnel within the MQ-9 enterprise, provide increased opportunities for leadership from within the community, and provide flexibility to enhance integration with other organizations and capabilities.”

Additionally, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein noted that “remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) and associated intelligence operations are and will remain a vital component for the national security of the United States and our allies. Providing additional RPA basing locations can provide greater development and quality-of-life opportunities so we can provide combatant commanders with the best trained operators to perform this critical mission.”

The first airmen assigned to the new group are expected to begin arriving there in 2018, although no RPAs will be based at the location as a result of this decision.