By: Aubrey Brown | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 29, 2017
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WCTV) -- The U.S. Air Force announced Tuesday that it has selected Tyndall Air Force Base to station its new squadron of aerial drones.
The MQ-9 Reaper is remotely piloted and capable of flying at high altitudes for long periods of time. The Air Force says it's primarily used for strike operations and intelligence and surveillance missions.
“This is a big win not only for Panama City, but for the entire state of Florida,” U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said.
Tyndall Air Force Base was selected from four finalists named last year. Eglin Air Force Base in Pensacola, Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California were also considered.
More than 1,600 airmen will help support the 24 Reaper drones.
“Tyndall is a perfect location for this new wing, and this community will welcome the new airmen and their families who come to live and work here with open arms,” said Congressman Neal Dunn.
The Reaper has a wingspan of 66 feet, a range of 1,000 nautical miles, and can fly up to 50,000 feet. It can also be armed with missiles and direct attack munitions.