Panama City, FL. – Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, FL has been selected by the U.S. Air Force to base its new squadron of unmanned aerial drones, according to a press release from U.S. Senator Bill Nelson
Senator Nelson, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, received the news in a phone call this afternoon from Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.
“This is a big win not only for Panama City, but for the entire state of Florida,” Nelson said. “The 1,400 airmen and their families that will soon be heading to the area will provide a tremendous boost to the local economy.”
Tyndall Air Force Base was chosen from a list of four finalists named last year by the Air Force. The other three finalists were Eglin Air Force Base in Pensacola, Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Nelson sent a letter to then-Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah James, in May 2016 outlining why he thought Florida was the best choice for the new squadron. Nelson cited the state’s proximity to a unique combination of maritime and overland training ranges as one reason why it should be chosen.
The Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper is a remotely piloted aircraft capable of loitering at high altitudes for extended periods of time, giving it a unique capability in surveilling and targeting high-value, fleeting, and time-sensitive targets. It’s primarily used by the Air Force for strike operations and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
In addition to 24 MQ-9 Reaper drones, up to 1,400 airmen and their families will be stationed at Tyndall