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Whiteman Receives MQ-1 Predator Mission

Following a decision handed down by the Pentagon on Monday, one Missouri Air Force Base will be playing an increased role in the defense of the country. KSMU’s Justin Lux has the story.

U.S. Senators Kit Bond and Claire McCaskill applauded the Pentagon’s decision to award Missouri’s Whiteman Air Force Base the MQ-1 Predator mission.

Beginning in September, Whiteman will host 280 additional military and civilian personnel who will all contribute to the mission, which is expected to be fully operational by February 2011.

The MQ-1 Predator is a medium-altitude, unmanned aircraft system, built for long missions. The aircraft is operated from inside a ground control station and will allow the military to not only gather intelligence, but to also carry out strikes on the ground.

Laura Myron, a spokesperson for Senator McCaskill, says receiving a mission like this really solidifies the importance of Whiteman Air Force Base, which is already home to the B-2 bomber.

“This decision really puts Missouri at the forefront of the war on terrorism and the fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. It just shows what we already knew about how capable and talented the men and women at Whiteman Air Force Base really are,” Myron says.

With close to 300 military and civilian personnel members expected in September, McCaskill’s office expects there to be an economic benefit to the town of Knob Noster, Missouri, where the base is located.

For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux