U.S. Air Force quietly starts MQ-9 Reaper Drone operations out of Poland

An MQ-9 Reaper, assigned to the 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, armed with four Guided Bomb Unit-38s parks on a flightline before a mission on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan Feb. 22, 2018. The 62nd ERS provides close air support, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in Afghanistan.(U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Paul Labbe)

The USAF has issued a statement regarding a relatively unnoticed deployment of MQ-9 Reaper Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Poland, which began earlier this month.

“The United States and Poland have a standing relationship to address issues of regional and global security,” the statement, posted on May 21, read. “To advance those interests, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, the air component of U.S. European Command, is operating MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft at Miroslawiec Air Base as a visible expression of U.S. efforts to enhance regional stability.”

The United States Air Force added that the Polish government was well-informed of the deployment and is a working partner.

“This mission, starting in May 2018, has been fully coordinated with the Polish government,” the statement added. “It is designed to promote stability and security within the region and to strengthen relationships with NATO allies and other European partners.”

This news comes around the same time that the Polish offered over $1.5 billion to $2 billion for the deployment of a permanent US military presence in the Eastern European country, which was once occupied by the former Soviet Union.

After meeting with US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis last month, Polish Minister of National Defense said he was “optimistic about increasing the American military presence in Poland. Decision are on the right path.”

“Poland is at the center of US military activities on the eastern flank of the Alliance,” the Polish Ministry of National Defense said in a statement. “Polish-American cooperation is carried out in the framework of three key initiatives: the NATO enhanced forward presence, the Atlantic Resolve operation and the allied missile defense system.”

The MQ-9 Reaper is a workhorse of the US Air Force drone fleet, with the ability to perform both reconnaissance and hunter-killer missions. The drones will be at home at Miroslawiec Air Base, which is a UAV-dedicated operations facility.

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