FARGO — The Fargo Air Museum welcomed a visitor this week from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
The MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft, also known as a drone, is being loaned to the Fargo museum and is of the type that was operated from 2007 until 2018 by the North Dakota Air National Guard's 119th Wing, also known as the Happy Hooligans.
After the 119th Wing stopped operating MQ-1 Predators, the aircraft were replaced with the more advanced MQ-9 Reaper.
The drone loan was possible because in late 2018 the Fargo Air Museum was granted full civilian museum certification from the NMUSAF, which meant the museum could request loans of aerospace vehicles for display.
"We are very excited and thankful to the North Dakota Air Guard for its continuous support of the Fargo Air Museum," said Ryan Thayer, the air museum's 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," he added.
The MQ-1 Predator is operated remotely by a crew that includes a pilot and a sensor operator who works from a ground control station.
Predators are 27 feet long and have a wingspan of more than 48 feet.
While reconnaissance is their primary use, Predators can also be armed for light attack missions.
When the 119th Wing operated MQ-1 Predators, many of their missions took place over southwest Asia, according to 1st Lt. Jeremiah Colbert, public affairs officer with the 119th Wing.
The Predator that arrived at the air museum Thursday is on long-term loan and will be featured in the museum's main hangar along with signage providing information about the aircraft and the Air National Guard.