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March Air Reserve Base could get more room for MQ-9 Reaper training

By in Press Enterprise on November 23, 2017

By Jeff Horseman

More room to train drone pilots at March Air Reserve Base is part of a bill passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month.

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A provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, which passed by a 356-70 vote Nov. 14, allows construction of a new training facility at March for pilots learning to fly the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle. The bill awaits President Donald Trump’s signature.

The project still needs funding in the upcoming federal budget. Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona, got $15 million for the project into a military spending bill approved by the House appropriations committee in June.

Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona.

That bill still needs to clear the House and Senate before it can be signed by the president.

“Increasing the capacity for training remote piloted aircraft pilots at March Air Reserve Base will help ensure our Air National Guard continues to have the resources it needs to fulfill its mission,” Calvert, who represented March until redistricting took effect in 2013, said in an emailed statement.

In another statement, the base’s current congressman, Rep. Mark Takano, D-Riverside, said: “This is another important win for March ARB and the community. The inclusion of the MQ-9 training facility in the defense funding bill reflects the base’s growing role in ensuring military readiness and national security.”

The shift […]    

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