Mich. guard base to get drones, not cargo planes

The Battle Creek Air National Guard base is preparing for a future with drones, not cargo aircraft.
AP Wire
Mar 15, 2013

The southwestern Michigan base said it learned from the U.S. Air Force on Thursday that it will fly the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle and won't get C-130 cargo aircraft as it had hoped.

"It's disappointing, as many folks around our community have fought hard trying to get us this flying mission," said Col. Ronald Wilson, 110th Airlift Wing commander. "We will move forward ... and we are excited for the MQ-9 mission. This is the way of the future in aircraft technology."

Officials said the timing of the transition hasn't been released and they don't know yet exactly how it will affect staffing. The base currently employs about 1,000 people, including 370 full-time.

The release describes the drone as "an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long endurance RPA (remotely piloted aircraft)." Pilots on the ground will operate the aircraft as they fly surveillance, reconnaissance, and combat search-and-rescue missions overseas. Base officials said it's similar to the A-10 Thunderbolt mission flown from 1991 until 2009.

Plans also call for the 110th Wing to get a "Cyber Command" unit and regional munitions storage area.

Comments

Boater

Nothing quite like the Government spying on the citizens... If Bush was President when this was happening, the liberals would have totally freaked out. However, now... crickets.......

Wingmaster

Don't forget soaring debt, gas prices thru the roof, grid lock, vacations during inappropriate times...All of these are ignored by the mainstream media. I don't care if they call these things out on any President but they should be impartial and consist in their reporting. The media is doing a huge disservice to the citizens of the country with all of this blatant bias. Wake up people!

GHJames

Bad news boater, if the gov wants to see what someone is up to it is far more likely they'll just look at your bank/debit card, phone with gps, internet records, etc... instead of constantly flying overhead hoping to see someone outside doing something interesting by chance. I think it's more egotistical than paranoid to think the government actually cares enough about us to watch us. Both parties have made it clear that we don't matter to them until election time.

bigdeal

this isn't a spy drone, it's a killer drone. From Wikipedia...

The MQ-9 is the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance.[5]

The MQ-9 is a larger, heavier, and more capable aircraft than the earlier MQ-1 Predator; it can be controlled by the same ground systems used to control MQ-1s. The Reaper has a 950-shaft-horsepower (712 kW) turboprop engine, far more powerful than the Predator's 115 hp (86 kW) piston engine. The power increase allows the Reaper to carry 15 times more ordnance payload and cruise at almost three times the speed of the MQ-1.[5] Although the MQ-9 can fly pre-programmed routes autonomously, the aircraft is monitored or controlled by aircrew in the Ground Control Station (GCS) and weapons employment is commanded by the flight crew.

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