Newport News, VA and Tuscon, AZ Should Seek New Opportunities with USAF $3B Drone Expansion Plan

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The Air Force wants to vastly expand its drone program over the next five years by doubling the number of pilots and deploying them to bases around the country to give commanders better intelligence and more firepower.

Tucson’s Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — which stands to lose its biggest mission amid efforts to retire the A-10 ground-attack jet — is mentioned as a possible site for expanded drone operations.

Besides Davis-Monthan, those considered most likely sites for the program include Beale Air Force Base near Sacramento, California; Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam near Honolulu; and Langley Air Force Base near Newport News, Virginia.

The $3 billion drone expansion plan, which must be approved by Congress, was unveiled Thursday after months of study that focused on a drone pilot force that commanders have described as overworked, undermanned and under appreciated.

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