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Mississippi’s Camp Shelby, the largest state-owned and operated military training site in the U.S. has been selected as the site of a new regional flight center for the Army National Guard’s Unmanned Aircraft System, the Hattiesburg American reports.
Shelby was chosen from among 19 sites nationally. The base has welcomed many Tactical Unmanned Air System units for training prior to overseas deployment, and is home to a company of the 155th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, which has one of the Army’s 30 TUAS units placed nationwide.
“The training at this site is not going to be tied to mobilization,” retired Lt. Col. Timothy Powell, spokesman for the Mississippi Army National Guard told the American. “This is going to train soldiers from all over the country in the operation of the UAS.
U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo said $48 million in additional UAS-related equipment and training systems will be headed to Camp Shelby in the coming months. The center is expected to open by year’s end.
Palazzo said the new mission for Camp Shelby would dovetail well with South Mississippi’s emergence as a leader in UAS technology, which uses unmanned air vehicles – or drones – for a variety of military-related missions.
“This center will exponentially increase the value we already have in (Camp Shelby’s) Hagler Airfield, and the work that is done at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems’ Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point,” Palazzo said in the statement.
The Moss Point, MS site manufactures UAS products for the Fire Scout, Global Hawk and Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) programs.