Whiteman AFB to be control base for drone airplanes

Monday, June 21, 2010 | 4:04 p.m. CDT; updated 5:14 p.m. CDT, Monday, June 21, 2010

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE — Whiteman Air Force Base is gaining about 280 personnel for a new mission involving drone aircraft.

U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton, a Democrat, said Monday that the Air Force has decided to make the west-central Missouri base a ground control station for its MQ-1 Predator. The airplanes are used primarily for reconnaissance missions and are operated by pilots who remain on the ground.

Only the personnel will be based at Whiteman; the planes will be deployed elsewhere.

Skelton says he has been working with the Air Force for more than a year to place a Predator control center at Whiteman.

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