Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Armed Services Committee, today announced funding to build the unmanned aerial vehicle hangar at Fort Drum in the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). In addition, a $27 million appropriation for the construction has passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The funding package now heads to the full Senate for a vote. Fort Drum’s Gray Eagle UAS mission became active in October 2013, and has already received 4 of the 9 anticipated Gray Eagles. The mission is currently operating out of a temporary facility until construction of this new hangar is completed in 2016.
“Federal funding for a new hangar at Fort Drum will support and expand its current unmanned aerial operations, and help ensure the facility stays an engine of jobs and economic growth for Watertown and all of Jefferson County for years to come,” said Senator Schumer. “Moreover, this investment will reinforce Fort Drum’s position as a key asset for our military. With a new hangar and more capabilities for storing and flying unmanned aircraft, Fort Drum will continue to play a large part in the Army’s, and the North Country’s, future.”
“This is an important next step for Fort Drum’s unmanned aerial vehicle program,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This new unit bolsters our national defense capabilities, and building the new hangar will put New Yorkers to work.”
The MQ-1C Gray Eagle is an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) deployed by the Army to execute Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Security, Attack, and Command and Control missions. Other infantry divisions have also been assigned Gray Eagle companies to support the soldiers as they deploy overseas. The funding will be used to create a hangar to house a fleet of ten Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft and 128 employees at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.