The Air National Guard is planning to add more emotely piloted aircraft launch and recovery elements, which will increase crew training and make more of its aircraft such as MQ-9s available to help with emergency response at home. The Guard has two launch and recovery elements in training units in California and New York, with the goal to increase that number to five, ANG Director Lt. Gen. Scott Rice said at a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing Wednesday. These elements will provide a “good balance of at home training and response” to Guard missions at home. New York and California Air National Guard crews used MQ-9s to help respond to large-scale fires in Southern California throughout late 2017. The increase in available launch and recovery elements will also mean more Guard airmen can deploy to launch RPA missions in current air wars. —Brian Everstine
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