Training for aircrew on the RAF's new Protector RG Mk1 remotely piloted aircraft system has begun in the United States.
Students will learn to fly and operate the Protector, which has a wingspan of 79ft and will carry UK-made Paveway bombs and Brimstone missiles, the RAF said.
The first pilots, sensor operators and mission intelligence co-ordinators will qualify to operate the technology.
The training is being undertaken by 54 Squadron at the GA-ASI Flight Test & Training Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Aircrew training comprises 12 weeks of simulation and live flying, including use of the Multi-Spectral Targeting System and Synthetic Aperture Radar.
The mission intelligence coordinators will undertake a six-week course.
It follows the graduation of the first RAF Protector technicians who will maintain it, earlier this year.
Sixteen Protectors have been ordered to replace the Royal Air Force's MQ-9A Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems.
The RAF says Protector will "provide critical armed surveillance capability" and be deployed to face potential adversaries around the world.
It is equipped with advanced equipment and precision strike weapons. Its 'detect and avoid' technology will enable it to fly in busy airspace for up to 40 hours, the RAF added.
Air Commodore Simon Strasdin, RAF ISTAR Force Commander, said: "I am delighted to see our first cohort of Protector crews commence training on this phenomenal platform.
"Reaper has been at the core of RAF combat operations in Afghanistan and the Middle East for almost two decades, demonstrating the utility and effectiveness of RPAs in the modern battlefield.
"The increased capability, flexibility and lethality Protector brings will see a step change in how we support UK defence."