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Published: Thursday, 3/14/2013

Michigan guard base to get drones, not cargo planes

Battle Creek Air National Guard Base loses bid for C-130 cargo planes, prepares to get drones

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — The Battle Creek Air National Guard base is preparing for drones.

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

Base commander Col. Ronald Wilson said in a release that it's “disappointing” not to get the C-130 but leaders are “excited for the MQ-9 mission.”

Officials say the timing of the transition hasn't been released and they don't know yet how it will affect employment.

Pilots on the ground will operate the aircraft as they fly surveillance, reconnaissance and combat search and rescue. Base officials say it's similar to the A-10 Thunderbolt mission flown from 1991 until 2009.



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