Hor­sham sta­tion gets new mis­sion

Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Caitlin Burns

cburns@jour­nalregis­ter.com

The Air Na­tional Guard 111th Fighter Wing in Hor­sham will now be the home of op­er­a­tors for the new re­motely pi­loted air­craft mis­sion. The U.S. Air Force an­nounced March 19 that the ground con­trol for re­motely con­trolled drones will be lo­cated at the Hor­sham Air Guard Base come fall.

“I’m proud to see that the Air Force rec­og­nizes our wing’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties, strate­gic lo­ca­tion and our di­versely tal­ented mem­bers. The com­po­si­tion, op­er­a­tional temp and the in­fra­struc­ture of our unit will in­crease as we pre­pare to take on this new chal­lenge of hous­ing a high­tech ground con­trol sta­tion right here in Hor­sham,” Com­man­der of the 111th Fighter Wing Col. Howard “Chip” Eissler said in a press re­lease. “Air­men on the ground here will soon be be­hind the con­trols of a re­motely pi­loted air­craft be­ing flRwn Ln ORFDWLRnV IDU IURP home.”

Although the com­mand cen­ter for the drones will be in Hor­sham, Hor­sham Town­ship Man­ager Bill Walker said the ac­tual air­craft will be overseas. The drones will be con­trolled by a two-per­son team us­ing a vir­tual cock­pit. The air­craft will not be housed in Hor­sham ei­ther.

“Th­ese drones will not EH fly­LnJ RvHU HRUVhDP,” Walker said. “It will only be op­er­ated from the com­mand cen­ter.”

The new mis­sion will cre­ate ap­prox­i­mately 250 new jobs, the De­part­ment of Mil-

Mil­i­tary and Veter­ans Af­fairs an­nounced. Of th­ese jobs, 75 will be full-time po­si­tions.

The new jobs, Walker said, could mean the re­lo­ca­tion of in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies into the area, which he said would be “good for the econ­omy.”

“I think it’s good news for the town­ship,” Walker said.

7hH Ln­flux RI SHRSOH into the town­ship would help in­crease rev­enue for lo­cal busi­nesses and help the hous­ing mar­ket, which he said has been suf­fer­ing since the base clo­sure.

Walker also said that the new mis­sion could be good for the fu­ture of the Air Guard Base that is still housed on the prop­erty of the closed Wil­low Grove Naval Air Sta­tion Joint Re­serve Base. He said, since Hor­sham will be home to the new­est mil­i­tary tech­nol­ogy, the state would hopefully look else­where when look­ing to close a base.

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

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