A Polish-based US military unit equipped with the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted air system has achieved full operational capability.
Forward-deployed at the Polish air force's Miroslawiec air base, the US Air Force's (USAF) 52nd Expeditionary Operations Group Detachment 2 flies the medium-altitude, long-endurance type in an unarmed configuration. MQ-9s have been flown from Poland since May 2018, the service says.
Currently flown by a mix of Tennessee Air National Guard and contracted personnel, the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance-tasked MQ-9s provide "valuable force protection data to the US and international partners".
"Contractors and the US military now share control during operations such as the take-off, mission and recovery of the aircraft," the air force says. Images released by the service show the aircraft as being N-registered, and lacking military markings.
Supporting infrastructure work conducted at the site has included adding secure processing centres, communications equipment and a large aircraft maintenance shelter, plus additional on-base accommodation for US personnel, the USAF says.
Miroslawiec is located around 450km (280 miles) north-west of the Polish capital Warsaw.