The New York Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing in Syracuse may begin conducting MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft training flights over the Adirondack Mountains in northeastern New York as early as June. The Associated Press reports (via the Wall Street Journal) that Col. Charles Dorsey, wing vice commander, last week outlined the plan to the Adirondack Park Agency commissioners. The MQ-9s would operate out of Fort Drum north of Syracuse near Watertown, according to AP. Air Guard officials are still working out the details of this plan. The 174th FW relinquished its F-16 flying mission in June 2008 as part of BRAC 2005. Since then, it’s become the first Air Guard unit to operate the MQ-9, including in combat over Afghanistan. It also runs a Reaper maintenance schoolhouse. A Reaper flies more quietly than an F-16.
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.