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​The 1000th graduate of the Undergraduate Remotely Piloted Aircraft training program at JBSA-Randolph, Texas, graduated on Jan. 20. The 558th Flying Training Squadron, which oversees instruction for USAF RPA pilots and sensor operators, doubled the number of students moving through its pipeline in Fiscal 2017 in an effort to address increasing demand for RPAs. The Air Force also invested more than $3 million in infrastructure and training simulators and added 24 new instructor billets to the schoolhouse. “RPAs continue to prove their value to warfighting commanders in the intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and kinetic fight,” said Col. Joel Carey, the 12th Flying Training Wing commander, in a release.

See also: Reapers and the RPA Resurgence from the August 2016 issue of Air Force Magazine. (Caution, .pdf file.)