Drone Operation Center Headed to West MI

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BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — A drone operation center is headed to the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base.

Will drones be flying over West Michigan? The answer is no.

They will only be controlled from the base. Colonel Ron Wilson said the drones will fly overseas in approved military zones.

He explained how a drone is controlled from thousands of miles away.

“It has sensors on it. It also carries weapons, and you can fly them remotely,” Wilson said.

“It’s partially via satellite and partially via optic cable. Basically, it goes through cable, across the ocean and down to the drone… the controller and it does that in less than two seconds,” Wilson explained.

The technology is already being operated by other bases around the country. Wilson said the drone carries out similar missions to that of a manned aircraft.

However, he said it takes getting used to. For one, the pilot isn’t physically there to look around freely.

He said one plus is that it’s safer for pilots.

“Obviously, we don’t go to a combat zone. We fly them from here from Battle Creek,” Wilson said.

The base was hoping to get two other traditional manned aircraft, a C-21 and a C-130. However, both proposals fell through.

Wilson said those aircraft would have provided jobs for mechanics and other existing staff.

That combined with the impact of the sequester means furloughs and layoffs.

“We’re gonna do the best we can to try and mitigate job losses. We’re going to try and place people,” Wilson said. He said the new mission will mean training for many employees.

To those civilians who are concerned about drones roaming the united states, Wilson said there`s no need to worry.

The Air Force did the same exact type of missions with manned aircraft as they do with drones.

“You don’t spy on people’s backyards. What you do is, you take off. You go to the ranges that we have, the military restricted areas and we work on targets, on tanks, on trucks, on convoys,” he explained.

The Battle Creek Air National Guard base operated the A-10 Warthog for 18 years up until 2009. Recently, they were flying C-21s. However, that stops in September.

There’s no set ‘start date’ for when the drone mission will get underway.

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  • George Heartwell

    "Will drones be flying over West Michigan? The answer is no." Does anybody really believe this? I certainly don't. Time to sight in the rifle.

    • Charles

      Nope, its a lie meant to calm the mentally challenged in Michigan. They should have left out the cable going from the drone to Michigan, what would be several thousand miles long.

      Impossible. So they are lying, again. I say we find this drone base…and….(not allowed to use free expression or free speech without being considered a threat and reported, go through fake trial, and imprisoned. for using my constitutional rights).

  • Joe Ortiz

    why make a michigan a target!!!!! so if you wanted to take out our newest and most dangerous weapon what do you do? what you do is take out the source wich is the control STATION!!! why would we want that here in michigan? this is why we live here because were safe!

    • Charles

      O yes they will, and this junk will continue until common Americans like you and I, and every other poster here, stand up and revolt.

      But you won't…so…psht…go do your laundry.

  • Michigander

    If stuff ever hits the fan in the World the #1 resource needed to survive is water. What land mass has more fresh water than any other lange mass in the world?….. Yup, MICHIGAN. We are the riches place in the WORLD is things get crazy! Yup. Drone base here is for military purposes here.

  • Sam Kephart

    Domestic drone usage is ill-conceived, elitist, and end-runs our inherent Constitutional protections.

    Here are two (2), very well-produced, videos that anchor my points:

    Emmy Award-winning newscaster Shad Olson’s ‘The Great Drone Debate’, featuring US Senator John Thune:

    Here’s a mind-blowing, well-done animated short that really captures our collective angst that if the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then domestic drones are a superhighway to an Orwellian panoptic gulag.

    For national security purposes, Americans are already subject to warrantless wiretaps of calls and emails, the warrantless GPS “tagging” of their vehicles, the domestic use of Predators or other spy-in-the-sky drones, and the Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of all our behavior through “data fusion centers.” 

    America’s promise has always been the power of the many to rule, instead of the one. Ungoverned drone usage, particularly domestically, gives power to the one.