Air Force selects Tyndall AFB as preferred location for hosting new MQ-9 Reaper Wing
The United States Air Force has chosen Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida (Tyndall AFB) as the preferred location for hosting a new MQ-9 Reaper Wing with 24 remotely piloted aircraft (RPA).
The wing will feature an operations group with mission control elements, a launch and recovery capability, and a maintenance group.
“We selected Tyndall Air Force Base because it was the best location to meet the unique requirements of the MQ-9 Reaper,” says Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson.
Those requirements, according to Wilson, include fewer aircraft competing for air space, nearby training ranges, lower up-front costs and great weather.
The selection of Tyndall AFB will also meet the goals of Air Combat Command's Culture and Process Improvement Plan, which recognized the need for additional basing locations to help diversify assignment opportunities for personnel within the MQ-9 enterprise, provide more opportunities for leadership from within the community, and provide flexibility to “enhance integration with other warfighter organizations and capabilities.”
“Remotely Piloted Aircraft and the intelligence capabilities supporting them remain vital to our national security and the security of our allies,” says Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein.
“Equally important is the increasing use of RPAs in defense of the homeland and response to humanitarian disaster as we have seen recently with hurricanes and wildfires. Co-locating this wing with [U.S. Northern Command’s] Air Operations Center and 1st Air Force will bring increased capability to support Gen. Lori Robinson in addition to increasing lethality and giving our other combatant commanders the best trained operators possible.”
Previously, the Air Force announced Shaw AFB, South Carolina as the preferred alternative for an operations group with mission control elements. No aircraft will be assigned to the operations group.
Tyndall AFB is still the preferred alternative for this basing action, and the final basing decision will be made by the Secretary of the Air Force, but only after the completion of the environmental analysis.
Based on current projections, Airmen are expected to begin arriving at the new location as early as 2020, with the first aircraft expected to arrive in 2022.