The US Air Force (USAF) has chosen Will Rogers Air National Guard Base (ANGB) as the only candidate location to receive AT-802U Sky Warden aircraft.
The decision to select this Oklahoma-based ANGB was made by USAF secretary Frank Kendall.
Sky Warden is a multi-role, armed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, being developed as part of the US Special Operations Command’s Armed Overwatch programme.
A contract to provide AT-802Us has already been awarded to L3Harris Technologies and Air Tractor in August.
The new aircraft will replace the MC-12 Liberty medium-to-low-altitude aircraft at Will Rogers ANGB. The base will receive a total of 28 AT-802U aircraft.
Apart from this, the existing MC-12 Formal Training Unit (FTU) will also be transformed into AT-802U Total Force Integration FTU.
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Around 80 personnel will be deployed at Will Rogers to support AT-802U missions that are planned to be undertaken by the 310th Special Operations Squadron (SOS).
The arrangement will see 310th SOS relocate from Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico to Will Rogers ANGB.
After relocating, 310th SOS will form an active association with 185th SOS, a unit deployed under Oklahoma ANG’s 137th Special Operations Wing at Will Rogers ANGB, to support future missions.
The USAF is further planning to conduct a site survey at the chosen candidate base next year.
It will allow the service to examine the potential impact of Sky Warden on existing missions, as well as to assess various operational requirements such as manpower, housing and infrastructure.
The site survey will be followed by an environmental impact analysis procedure, which is expected to be carried out by the Department of Air Force in autumn 2023, before finalising the decision regarding Will Rogers base.