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MQ-5A Drone Exhibit Opens At CAF Airbase Arizona

March 16, 2022, Mesa, Arizona- One early morning in March, while it was still dark and cold outside, a handful of museum volunteers rendezvoused with a crane and a large flatbed semi to accept delivery of a MQ-5B Hunter U-Wing drone packed in a mysterious conex container. A few days later the drone-team moved the unpacked fuselage, wings and tail, and video/sensor turret onto the museum floor where it will be assembled and displayed.

The drone was donated/transferred to Airbase Arizona by the U.S. Army which had custody of various discontinued equipment, some of which was designated for transfer to qualifying non-profit educational organizations. Airbase Arizona qualified and requested the drone. Dennis Nelson headed up the logistics of the acquisition after receiving staff approval, organized a team to receive delivery and a team to assemble the drone for exhibit. Museum volunteers Bill Pinnick, Larry Welty and Ray Toews will lead the assembly effort.

The MQ-5B Hunter was originally developed by Israel Aircraft Industries and the project later was joined by Northrup-Grumman as worldwide demand grew. The series was deployed operationally in the late 1990s in Kosovo and later in Iraq and Afghanistan. The MQ-5B received by the Airbase was used in development and likely did not deploy in actual operations. Being an early GWOT-era drone, it was not autonomous and required a ground controller within range.

Now that the aircraft is part of the museum's permanent collection, additional research and exhibit material is planned with greater detail on the MQ-5B and the many drone versions and tactics that followed.

Don't miss the newest addition to the museum: a Hunter MQ-5B drone. This aircraft was used by the U.S. Army for reconnaissance in the 1990s as part of the unmanned systems revolution in military aviation.

You can visit CAF Airbase Arizona at 2017 N. Greenfield Rd., Mesa, AZ 85215 Museum hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Wed. – Sat. (480) 924-1940 or https://www.azcaf.org

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