Hoeven Secures Commitment from Air Force to Upgrade ND Air Guard from Predator to Reaper in Coming Months

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Air Force has agreed to upgrade the North Dakota Air Guard’s unmanned aircraft from Predators to the MQ-9 Reaper in the coming months. Earlier this month, North Dakota Adjutant General Al Dohrmann notified the senator that the active duty Air Force had signaled they would deploy the Reapers overseas, rather than sending them to the Air Guard in North Dakota, Arizona and Texas. Without the aircraft, the Fargo Air Guard would have lost 175 maintenance positions, including 62 full-time position, as well as six pilot and sensor operator slots.

Hoeven worked with Senators John McCain of Arizona and John Cornyn of Texas to press the Air Force to deploy the MQ-9s to the Air Guard in North Dakota, Arizona and Texas as laid out in the Air Force’s upgrade plans, rather than diverting them overseas.

“We’ve been working very hard to upgrade from the Predator mission at the North Dakota Air Guard to the new Reaper mission. The good news is that Air Force has officially notified us that North Dakota, along with Texas and Arizona, will be getting new Reapers in the next several months. That’s great news because we continue to lead the way forward with UAS development, not only with our flight crews, but also with the maintenance of these new aircraft.”  

Hoeven has also been working to secure the Fargo Air Guard’s intelligence targeting mission. Hoeven worked to include $7.3 million for a new secure facility to support the North Dakota Air National Guard’s Intelligence Targeting Mission at Hector Field.