Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Air Force plans killer drone base in Philly suburbs: Seeks part-time help

At Horsham control station

Air Force plans killer drone base in Philly suburbs: Seeks part-time help

A U.S. Predator drone flying over southern Afghanistan. Predators are frequently used to attack militants in tribal areas of neighboring Pakistan, a practice the Pakistani government has threatened to halt. (AP File Photo)
A U.S. Predator drone flying over southern Afghanistan. Predators are frequently used to attack militants in tribal areas of neighboring Pakistan, a practice the Pakistani government has threatened to halt. (AP File Photo)

"The U.S. Air Force has chosen the Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 111th Fighter Wing, located in Horsham, to take on a new remotely piloted aircraft mission," according to this Guard announcement.

"The National Guard Bureau has authorized the wing to establish a ground-control station for the MQ-9 Reaper at Horsham Air Guard Base effective Oct. 1, 2013.

 “'This is an exciting time for our wing, and our Airmen are energized to embrace this new mission,'” Col. Howard (Chip) Eissler, commander of the 111th Fighter Wing said... "'The composition, operational tempo and infrastructure of our unit will increase as we prepare to take on this new challenge of housing a high-tech ground control station right here in Horsham.'

"Nearly 250 jobs, approximately 75 of which are full-time positions, will be added to the wing to support this new mission.

 “'This is great news for Pennsylvania, especially when you consider the government cutbacks nationwide,'” Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general said. “We are fortunate that Governor Tom Corbett and local, state and federal elected officials were able to help secure such a major military and economic victory for Pennsylvania.'

"The MQ-9 Reaper will be controlled from a virtual cockpit on the installation by a two-person team consisting of a pilot and a sensor operator. The actual aircraft will not be located on the base.

 “'Airmen on the ground here will soon be behind the controls of a remotely piloted aircraft being flown in locations far from home',” said Eissler. “While the MQ-9 will be a significant platform change from the A-10 Thunderbolt II that we flew for years, the mission will be nothing new for the pilots of the 111th. We have been overseas multiple times in our A-10s, now we’ll be flying overseas missions from Horsham.'”

"Pennsylvania Air National Guard recruiting superintendent, Senior Master Sgt. Matt Giacobbe, said a robust recruiting effort is required to put people in these cutting-edge positions... Individuals interested in learning more about these and other positions can call 1-800-997-2264 or visit www.goang.com." 

More about the Reaper from the Air Force here   

Joseph N. DiStefano
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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