Wednesday, December 19, 2012

174th Attack Wing Reapers to fire live missiles over Fort Drum range


The New York Air National Guard's 174 Attack Wing will begin firing live missiles this week from MQ-9 Reaper drones in training missions at Fort Drum's joint air to ground range complex. 

The Attack Wing's MQ-9 aircrews have been firing inert munitions from Reapers at the Fort Drum ground range since January. This will be the first time since the 174th began flying Reapers that live missiles will be fired from them over Fort Drum.

The Reapers carry combinations of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, GBU-12 Paveway II and GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions

Fort Drum's joint air to ground range complex has long been the site of live missile trainings for U.S. military aircraft providing air support to Army soldiers on the ground.

"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."

The firing exercises will be conducted in the afternoon and evenings to provide both day and night experience for crews.

Nearby residents may hear loud explosions, especially with cooler temperatures in the evenings. Cold air, which is more dense than warm air, is a better conductor of sound over distance.

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

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