Photos Courtesy of North Dakota Air National Guard.
The Fargo Air Museum recently received a MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), which was originally a North Dakota Air National Guard (NDANG) aircraft, on loan from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (NMUSAF). The 119th Wing, known as the Happy Hooligans, operated the MQ-1 Predator from 2007 until 2018, when it was replaced with the MQ-9 Reaper.
You may have seen the MQ-1 Predator flying around town for training purposes in years past, but now you can see one up-close and personal.
The Fargo Air Museum was granted full civilian museum certification from the NMUSAF in December of 2018, which allows it to request loans of aerospace vehicles for display. The certification, coupled with the ongoing, positive relationship with the NDANG, makes this a very special addition to the museum. “We are very excited and thankful to the North Dakota Air Guard for its continuous support of the Fargo Air Museum,” said Ryan Thayer, Executive Director. “Having this aircraft on display will allow us the opportunity to educate the public on the role of RPAs and the 119th Wing’s mission. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Happy Hooligans and are also actively working to assist with recruiting efforts.”
The MQ-1 Predator is operated by a crew, consisting of a pilot and a sensor operator, from a ground control station (GCS). The aircraft stands 7 feet tall, measures 27 feet in length and has a wingspan of 48 feet 7 inches. Although equipped with surveillance technology for the primary purpose of reconnaissance, the Predator can also be armed for light attack in warzones. To protect the legal rights of U.S. citizens, surveillance technology on U.S. Air Force RPAs is not used during training sorties over non Department of Defense controlled territory.
The Fargo Air Museum was founded with the nonprofit mission of promoting aviation through education, preservation and restoration. Located on 19th Ave N, just east of Interstate-29, the Fargo Air Museum is home to aircraft of all eras. Visit www.fargoairmuseum.org for additional information.
The North Dakota Air National Guard is a trained and highly motivated force of about 1,100 Citizen-Airmen executing world class MQ-9 precision attack and reconnaissance, kinetic and non-kinetic target intelligence production, and expeditionary support capabilities for the nation and state.