Horsham station gets new mission
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.”