The Air Force says it plans to fly Predators out of Grand Forks AFB, N.D., but the base does not have a crosswind runway when wind speeds are high. Without a crosswind runway, reports the Associated Press news service, Predators would not be able to land. Oddly, the 119th Fighter Wing at Fargo does have a crosswind runway, but the Fargo ANG unit is destined to supply pilots and Grand Forks launch and recovery of the aircraft. Lest the Grand Forks crowd get too nervous, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) says building a short crosswind runway would be cheap and “the Air Force has made a firm commitment to Grand Forks.”
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.