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US base turned NASA airfield for military drones

US base turned NASA airfield for military drones

New military base of unmanned aerial vehicles appeared in the us state of California. Interestingly, it was created on the basis of an aerospace port, used by NASA services.

Mojave Desert, southern california. This is where Goldstone Deep Space Communications is located – Goldstone deep space communications complex. AT 60 km from the complex - the city of Barstow with the US Marine Corps base. A runway runs along dry Lake Goldstone. The War Zone has published images of the aerospace port, which clearly shows, besides the runway, one large permanent hangar and one temporary clamshell hangar, as well as a couple of drones outdoors.

Although the Goldstone complex is a civilian aerospace facility and is used by NASA, the runway and hangars are used by Company "B" of the 229th Aviation Regiment, US Air Force. The company is responsible for and operates the MQ-1C drones fleet during the exercise., held at the National Training Center. Usually, exercises are held shortly before, how the unit will go on a foreign business trip.

Recall, that the MQ-1C Gray Eagle is a reconnaissance and strike unmanned aerial vehicle, which began to be operated by the American armed forces with 2008 years and actively used during the hostilities in Afghanistan and Iraq. As of 2016 year, US Army used 90 such unmanned aerial vehicles.

As for the base at Goldstone, then its history is inextricably linked with the development of civilian space projects NASA. Construction of the first space communications antenna at Goldstone began long ago 1958 year. Since that time, the complex has been used by NASA USA, which in the 1970s - 1980s. continued to modernize various objects of space communication and observation on the territory of the complex.

US base turned NASA airfield for military drones

not known exactly, when control of the aerospace port was transferred to the military. but in 2014 a company of the 229th Aviation Regiment was already deployed in Goldstone, and at the same time there was a budget request for 45 million dollars for the construction of a new hangar. obviously, what exactly it was supposed to place the UAV in, operated by an aviation regiment company.

Although initially the company "B" was tasked with ensuring the educational process, at 2015 year it was decided to deploy it in Afghanistan, after which the company was transferred to Bagram. Construction work at Goldstone began almost simultaneously, since it was clear, that after returning from Afghanistan, the company will return to its former location.

AT 2017 company "B" was transferred to Iraq, where she was to participate in hostilities against the formations of terrorists. Then she again returned to the place of deployment, staying ready for rapid deployment anywhere in the world.

US base turned NASA airfield for military drones

Recent satellite images of Goldstone show, that the runway is designated "UAS" – "Unmanned aircraft systems". It means, that the runway is used exclusively for unmanned aerial vehicles. Really, for drone flights, the Goldstone runway is the ideal location.

US base turned NASA airfield for military drones

US base turned NASA airfield for military drones

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The remote location once became one of those advantages of this place, which the heads of NASA drew attention to during the construction of the complex. Here, away from "extra eyes", others can test, the latest samples of unmanned aerial vehicles, intended for the needs of the American armed forces.

Quite possibly, that it is the base at Goldstone in the foreseeable future that will turn into a key base for UAVs of the US Air Force. At least, for this, this place has all the conditions. Considering, that the American military leadership is paying more and more attention to unmanned aerial vehicles, the importance of the California base for the US military will also increase.

Ilya Polonsky

A source