By Staff Reports
(Victorville)- – This morning, the Air National Guard’s 163rd Reconnaissance Wing (RW) unveiled its new $5 million hangar at Southern California Logistics Airport. The Air National Guard will conduct its MQ-1 Predator operations in the state-of-the-art hangar specially designed for unmanned aerial systems. The hangar will support the 163rd’s Formal Training Unit – a group tasked with training the US Air Force’s remotely piloted aircraft crews.
The ribbon cutting ceremony took place at the new hangar with local dignitaries and military officials including Major General David Baldwin, Colonel Randall Ball, Vice-Chairman and First District Supervisor for the County of San Bernardino Brad Mitzelfelt and Victorville Councilman Mike Rothschild. The MQ-1 Predator made several fly-bys during the event and attendees received an up-close view of the aircraft within the new hangar.
Previously, the Air National Guard’s Predator operations were located at a temporary facility at Southern California Logistics Airport. With the new hangar, the 163rd RW’s Predator mission will be able to expand its operations more permanently in Victorville. Assistant City Manager of Victorville Keith Metzler said “We take pride in our nation’s military being a part of our reuse efforts at Southern California Logistics Airport and their being here proves how unmanned flight systems can successfully operate within a commercial airspace.”
In 2006, the 163rd RW became the first Air National Guard unit to receive the Predator mission. As one of five Air National Guard units in California, the 163rd RW includes approximately 1,000 members and is headquartered at March Air Reserve Base