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12 Sep 16. USAF selects candidate bases for new MQ-9 Reaper wing. The US Air Force (USAF) has identified eight bases as candidates for two locations, which could potentially host the MQ-9 Reaper wing.
The bases selected for first location are Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB), Arizona; Moody AFB, Georgia; Mountain Home AFB, Idaho; Offutt AFB, Nebraska; and Shaw AFB, South Carolina.
The first location would host an operations group with mission control elements, no aircraft will be assigned to these units. These candidate bases already have an active-duty flying wing or group, and if selected, will allow MQ-9 crews to control the MQ-9 from that location. For the second location, Eglin AFB, Florida; Tyndall AFB, Florida; Vandenberg AFB, California, and Shaw AFB have been selected.
This location, which is expected to have up to 24 MQ-9 aircraft assigned, would potentially house a full MQ-9 wing, including both a launch and recovery element and a mission control element, as well as a maintenance group and operations support personnel.
USAF installations deputy assistant secretary Jennifer L. Miller said: “We are using the strategic basing process to determine the best locations for hosting additional locations for the MQ-9 mission.
“As we go through the basing process, we will use the information we collect to help us determine the affordability and potential locations for expanding the MQ-9 enterprise.”
Based on the results of site surveys to be conducted at all the locations, the USAF is expected to select the preferred alternatives as early as this autumn. Following the completion of environmental analysis, USAF secretary will make the final basing decisions. The need for additional basing locations was identified during surveys of officers and enlisted Airmen in the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 enterprise, which was conducted as part of Air Combat Command’s (ACC) Culture and Process Improvement Program. The additional locations will allow the USAF to diversify assignment opportunities for personnel within the MQ-9 enterprise. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
15 Sep 16. US Navy Christens Littoral Combat Ship Wichita. The US Navy christened its newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, USS Wichita (LCS 13), during a 10 a.m. CST ceremony Saturday, Sept. 17 in Marinette, Wisconsin. Wichita, designated LCS 13, honors the city of Wichita, Kansas. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, the junior senator from Wisconsin, will serve as the principal speaker. Novelist and editor Kate Lehrer, the wife of former PBS news anchor and Wichita native Jim Lehrer, will serve as the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by Lehrer breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to formally christen the ship, a time-honored Navy tradition.
“The christening of the future USS Wichita brings this warship one step closer to joining our nation’s growing fleet,” said the Honorable Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy. “The skill and dedication of the men and women who brought this ship from an idea to a reality—our country’s incomparable shipbuilders—will be remembered for years to come as the LCS 13 deploys around the world.”
The future USS Wichita is the third naval vessel to honor Kansas’s largest city. The first (CA 45) was a heavy cruiser in service from 1939 to 1947. Active during World War II, Wichita supported amphibious landings during Operation Torch in November 1942 in the European Theater and later participated in the Battles of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf and the invasion of Okinawa in 1944 in the Pacific Theater, earning 13 battle stars for wartime service. The second USS Wichita (AOR 1) was a