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August 27, 2021updated 13 Dec 2021 10:09am

USAF makes Grand Forks AFB lead installation for ISR missions

The plan includes a series of construction and renovation projects at the GFAFB to meet future ISR needs.

The US Air Force’s (USAF) Grand Forks Air Force Base (GFAFB) in North Dakota has become the lead installation for future intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

The latest announcement comes as the USAF plans to restructure ISR capabilities and support joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) capabilities to meet national defence priorities.

The service will carry out infrastructure planning next year with construction and renovation projects at the AFB.

The projects will enable the 319th Reconnaissance Wing (RW) to develop and train crews in support of future intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

The plan has been approved by USAF secretary Frank Kendall.

USAF 319th RW commander colonel Timothy Curry said: “We’re excited to provide vital strategic capabilities to the Joint force.

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“Grand Forks AFB will remain central to the airforce core ISR mission today and in the future.”

Budgeting for construction and renovation projects is expected to occur during 2023-2026 to support upcoming 319th RW missions.

According to the USAF, the plan also includes increasing the number of operational units under the command of the 319th RW that are engaged in future missions.

These include E-11 Battlefield Airborne Control Node aircraft mission at Robins AFB in Georgia beginning next year, and a second geographically separated unit in the future.

The USAF’s FY-2022 budget request is seeking the divestment of the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) and RQ-4 Block 30 aircraft.

Funds from these divestments, if made, will be used towards modernisation, and to improve the capability to counter threats from peers.

Meanwhile, GFAFB will continue operating the RQ-4 Block 40 in the late 2020s.

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