Liberty for Beale

The Air Force’s preferred basing location for its new fleet of MC-12W surveillance aircraft is Beale AFB, Calif., the service announced Thursday. Beale stood out among the six candidate locations announced in April due to its “access to training opportunities, synergy with existing intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance flying missions, and collocation with the distributed ground station mission,” said Kathleen Ferguson, top Air Force official for installation matters. The Air Force must complete an environmental impact study before the decision is final. Operating today from bases in Afghanistan and Iraq, MC-12s are providing invaluable, direct ISR support to US and coalition ground forces. Recently the Air Force completed the deployment of all 30 of its operational MC-12s to Southwest Asia. In addition to them, seven MC-12s have been used for training at Key Field ANGB, Miss., which was one of the candidate beddown sites.