Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Historic landing for 107th Attack Wing

    Historic landing for 107th Attack Wing

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Michael Janker | The 107th Operations Group, 107th Attack Wing, New York Air National Guard, stands for...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Michael Janker 

    107th Attack Wing Public Affairs

    NIAGARA FALLS, NEW YORK- The 107th Attack Wing made history this week by successfully landing an MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), on Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station for the first time.

    Reinforcing the unit’s capabilities, the 107th Operations Group ensured the MQ-9’s smooth takeoff and landing. The innovative Satellite Launch and Recovery (SLR) system is instrumental in this maneuver.

    “SLR essentially removes the need for forward-deployed crews” said Lt. Col. Marshal Plavan, Lead SLR Instructor Pilot from the 107th Operations Support Squadron. “The aircraft still operates from a satellite, but utilizes an auto takeoff and landing profile, allowing the MQ-9 to land autonomously.”

    Aside from demonstrating the technological capabilities of the aircraft and the 107th, this operation marked a training resurgence for the unit.

    “Since our mission conversion to the MQ-9, local training has been a challenge. With operations like this one, we’re reigniting this essential facet,” said Plavan, emphasizing the importance of these activities at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

    The 107th Attack Wing began converting to the MQ-9 RPA mission in 2014.

    With RPAs in U.S. airspace, there may be reservations among those unfamiliar with the platform. However, Plavan reassured that the MQ-9 is adept for domestic roles.

    “It’s a robust platform for surveillance, which can be crucial during events like natural disasters.” said Plavan, “It’s prolonged airborne time and the range of equipment it can carry can make it invaluable for state and national needs”.

    Colonel Andrew Carlson, 107th Attack Wing Commander, explained that flying training missions stateside are critical to training our Aircrew to ensure they retain the skills required to complete complex combat missions located overseas.

    In partnership with the 174th Attack Wing, another New York Air National Guard unit with an MQ-9 mission, located in Syracuse, N.Y., the 107th is using the opportunity to familiarize and train our Aircrews, explained Carlson.

    “The ability to take off and land the aircraft without being in line-of-sight is a force enabler that allows increased mobility and combat effectiveness”, said Carlson.

    Colonel Thomas Griffin, the 107th Operations Group Commander, took the lead on executing this training mission. However, success could not have been assured without partnerships with the Federal Aviation Administration, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, the 174th Attack Wing, and the 914th Air Refueling Wing.

    “We appreciate all of the support of our military and community partners; without their willingness to help, this historic event would not have been a reality”, said Carlson.

    Griffin, who was present for the MQ-9’s successful landing, recognized the teamwork underpinning the operation, with the 174th facilitating the launch and the 107th ensuring its successful recovery.

    MQ-9s are used today around the world for a wide range of critical missions. From combat and intelligence to search and rescue and supporting the fight on wildfires. Though these aircraft have the ability to operate autonomously, they still rely on the continued role of the pilot, who always maintains ultimate control and can assume direct operation at any juncture.

    The ability to practice Satellite Launch and Recovery is vital and the 107th looks forward to more training opportunities like this.



    Date Taken: 08.09.2023
    Date Posted: 08.12.2023 17:49
    Story ID: 451267
    Location: NIAGARA FALLS, NY, US

    Web Views: 159
    Downloads: 0