Hoeven: New Grand Forks Air Force Base Unit Strengthens Mission

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today said that the U.S. Air Force’s decision to activate soon a new unit at the Grand Forks Air Force Base strengthens the Global Hawk mission and secures its position at the base. The 69th Reconnaissance Group will operate and maintain the RQ-4 Global Hawk mission.

“As a cutting-edge unmanned aerial system, Global Hawk will provide powerful capabilities for our military,” Hoeven said. “Already, unmanned aerial systems play a vital role in our nation’s security abroad, and we foresee them enhancing our ability to protect our homeland in our own airspace. The activation of the 69th Reconnaissance Group secures the RQ-4 Global Hawk as a permanent mission of the Grand Forks Air Force Base, and gives North Dakota an important role in the continued development of this technology.”

The RQ-4 Global Hawk arrived at Grand Forks Air Base in June, and another Global Hawk aircraft is expected to arrive this summer. Before Global Hawk’s arrival, the Grand Forks Air Force Base was already home to Predator B, unmanned aircraft that fly missions for Customs and Border Protection and are used overseas as well. 

Prior to the unit’s activation, RQ-4 Global Hawk held a temporary mission status at Grand Forks Air Force Base and was subordinate to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base in California. The planned activation of the 69th Reconnaissance Group makes Global Hawk a permanent mission for the Grand Forks Air Force Base. The activation is not expected to affect the number of manpower authorizations.

Hoeven strongly supports unmanned aerial systems, and is working in Congress to integrate them into the National Air Space.