Reservists shine in first RPA Gunsmoke competition

  • Published
  • 926th Group public affairs
The 78th Attack Squadron brought home two awards in the first Remotely Piloted Aircraft Gunsmoke competition held June 17-21.

The unit secured MQ-9 Top Squadron and MQ-9 Top Sensor Operator in the total force event featuring Regular Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard teams.

"The competition was an opportunity to showcase expertise on tactics, techniques and procedures," said Lt. Col. Brent, 78th ATKS commander. "Our success validates the experience the Reserve brings to current and future combat missions and demonstrates how well the Reserve and Regular Air Force integrate on this platform."

The rivalry, derived loosely from a now discontinued bi-annual fighter jet competition, gave Airmen an opportunity to train as they fight. Fifteen teams from 12 squadrons went head to head in the challenge to formulate a mission plan, evaluate a threat and develop a strategy to execute the mission effectively.

For crews that typically fly in Afghanistan, Gunsmoke provided operators with the occasion to train on the Nellis Test and Training Range and practice against different threats and mission sets.

To further the realism and intensity, live munitions were utilized on the MQ-9 in the form of GBU-12 laser-guided bombs.

"Being the first competition of its kind for RPA, it gave crews the chance to compete in events and scenarios that we demonstrate in combat operations every day," said Brent.

Combat, along with intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, is one of the main missions for the Airmen of the 78th ATKS.