The Air Force dismantled Cold War-era SR-71 hangars at Beale AFB, Calif., according to base officials. “From a historic point of a view, it is sad to see them go, but from a mission standpoint, we can [now] support the current airframes,” Robert Nordahl, 9th Civil Engineer Squadron program flight chief, told the Daily Report on Aug 14. RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft and U-2 surveillance airplanes operate today from the California base, which is north of Sacramento. Workers began taking down the hangars in June. As of Aug. 2, only two remained, according to a Beale release. Until workers dismantle them, they will support the Global Hawks and U-2s, said Nordahl. SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft operated at Beale from 1966 to the late 1990s. Removing the hangars is part of Beale’s ’20/20 by 2020″ initiative that aims to reduce the base’s excess infrastructure capacity and operating costs by 20 percent by 2020. (Beale report by SSgt. Robert M. Trujillo) (See also Beale Demolishes Cold War-Era Fuel Storage Tanks.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.