Design work could begin later this year on a modern, high-tech operations facility at the Holloman Air Force Base, some 6 miles southwest of Alamogordo, New Mexico.
As planned, the MQ-9 Formal Training Unit will house three MQ-9 Attack Squadrons. Those squadrons, in turn, are the official training units for new pilots and sensor operators for the MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft.
In response to the announcement by the U.S. Air Force green-lighting the design phase of the project, New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich, in a statement, said that the decision to invest in Holloman is a “reflection of the tremendous community support and the exceptional training environment and expertise that New Mexico has to offer.”
Altogether, the project to build the new operations facility, which will also house offices and both academic and maintenance space, is expected to cost around $85 million.
Holloman is the home to the largest MQ-9 training unit in the U.S. Air Force, a task it took over from the Creech Air Force Base, some 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, around eight years ago.
The Holloman program graduates up to 600 and more pilots and sensor operators every year, training more pilots annually than any other program in the service.
By Garry Boulard
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