The Marine Corps now has its first unmanned aerial vehicle. The service announced Sept. 9 that the UAV – an MQ-9A Reaper – was delivered to Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron One (VMU-1) on Aug. 30. The squadron is based at Yuma Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS), Arizona.
The unit accepted ownership of the Reaper from a private contractor that previously had operated it, Seapower magazine reported.
Maj. Keenan Chirhart, VMU-1’s executive officer, said that the procurement of the Reaper brings the unit in line with Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David H. Berger’s plan to reshape the service.
“Our unit is laying the groundwork for future squadrons to execute similar missions within the [U.S. Indo-Pacific Command] or anywhere else that we are needed,” Chirhart said.
Marine UAV pilots will use the medium-altitude, long-endurance aircraft to conduct a variety of missions. It carries payloads that support imagery reconnaissance, unmanned aerial escort and electronic support.