Davis-Monthan Passed Up For MQ-9 Reaper Drone Group

The Reaper is larger and more heavily-armed than the MQ-1 Predator and attacks time-sensitive targets with persistence and precision, to destroy or disable those targets. [USAF photo]

Because Tucson lacks a dedicated lobby to engage and solicit for additional missions for Davis Monthan Air Force Base, it was skipped over as the host of the new MQ-9 Reaper group. Shaw Air Force Base, in South Carolina, has been selected as the preferred location to base the Reaper group, including mission control elements

Davis-Monthan; Moody AFB, Georgia; Mountain Home AFB, Idaho; and Offutt AFB, Nebraska, were named as reasonable alternatives and will be considered as part of the environmental impact analysis process.

According to experts, this outcome coupled with the USAF’s plan to divest 110 A-10s over time, will reduce the number of jobs on Davis-Monthan. If Congress, or the new President does nothing to stop the USAF, by approximately 2021 Davis-Monthan will lose up to 2 of the three squadrons of A-10s currently based there.

The desire for additional locations for MQ-9 assignments was identified during surveys of officers and enlisted Airmen as part of Air Combat Command’s Culture and Process Improvement Program. CPIP is a series of initiatives designed to address challenges and stressors affecting the MQ-1B Predator and MQ-9 communities.

“Shaw AFB was selected because it was the best option to help us diversify assignment opportunities for personnel within the MQ-9 enterprise, provide increased opportunities for leadership from within the community, and provide flexibility to enhance integration with other organizations and capabilities,” said outgoing Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James in a press release.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein stated, “Remotely piloted aircraft and associated intelligence operations are and will remain a vital component for the national security of the United States and our allies. Providing additional RPA basing locations can provide greater development and quality of life opportunities so we can provide combatant commanders with the best trained operators to perform this critical mission.”

The first Airmen assigned to the new group are expected to begin arriving there in fiscal year 2018 although no RPAs will be based at the location as a result of this action.

In addition to this action, the Air Force is also considering another location to host an MQ-9 wing that includes up to 24 MQ-9s, launch and recovery elements, a mission control element, a maintenance group and support personnel.


  1. Given a choice of several locations, why would Air Force people want to live in a decaying cesspool with horrible roads, bad schools and high taxes? I’m already looking at properties elsewhere for when I retire. None of my kids want to stay here. The people of Tucson keep electing the same idiots over and over, and they just renewed the chief criminal’s contract for four more years. Get out while you still can!

  2. The liberals of Tucson have never wanted DM, have actively campaigned against DM and will never welcome DM. So sad. So many people made Tucson their home in the 60’s and 70’s specifically because DM was here and made Tucson what it was.

  3. Sure, why station it here, Ft Huachuca is the training site for the ARMY MQ’s so why would they once again want to be someplace close with a knowledge base? Once again the ‘leaders’ of az strike. Its not only the city that dont care its mclame and mclflake at the upper levels. mcjalva is another that only does photo ops (saw he was going to protest the inaugeration by staying home at the bar). About 10 years or so ago the military was looking for a place to build a UAV center and it went to mississippi, because the university would integrate it into their aeronautics courses. Well I thought uA was supposed to be a aeronautical engineering school, guess not or its just that the politicians at all levels are too inept. Shaw AFB is subject to hurricans and stuff, does not have the flying weather on and on. The dems are killing this area and I am not just saying the politicians its all of them.

  4. I was born and raised here. It’s really hard to watch a once thriving Tucson rot and turn to s#1t. I would like to know what if anything at all was done to lobby for the MQ-9 Reaper to come to our city. This is the first I’ve read about this so as implied here most likely NOTHING was done. This was a big deal. It would be nice to have an investigation done to find out if any lobbing against bringing them here was done and who was involved. We are facing the consequences of horrible leadership. Our roads and drainage systems are third world country (or worse), the new billion dollar treatment plant still stinks, new businesses trying to get permits are treated like red headed step children. Tucson badly needs our own ‘Culture and Process Improvement Plan and badly needs some real leaders or things will only get worse. Given the current state of Tucson, to give Huckelberry a huge raise just because he asked for it is truly mind boggling. But somehow this garbage continues and another great opportunity for Tucson fades away. What a sad predicament we have put ourselves in.

  5. Jdfast, Sadly I did an informal study when I worked in Tucson. For 20 years I got a chance to ask people what they planned to do in retirement. A very large percentage said they didn’t know but they planned to move away from Tucson.
    Of those people I could track, they did just that. IMO, there is a massive middle class and rich flight from Pima County.
    I know I sold my house and moved asap after retirement.
    I suspect in 10 to 20 years Raytheon will move it’s line somewhere else. That will usually happen as the contracts end, so it takes time.
    When demographics are used as political weapons instead of the wondrous melting pot the only outcome is flight. This is why people call the Tucson area, “Detroit of the Desert.” Twenty years from now it will either largely be taken over by the state or look just like Detroit. One big giant slum with a small gated area for the elite.

  6. Once again, the city and county have proved that they don’t care about DM and its jobs. There is no lobbying group, no calls to congress, no testifying before congress about the facility, etc. But yet the county wants bond issues passed and the city wants a sales tax increase. One reason property taxes are so high is because there is really no business tax base in the county or city. As long as the liberal dumbasses rule the day there will be no businesses to help absorb some of the property taxes. They simply don’t care. The people can pay, and pay, and pay and pay. I am tired of paying for the liberals playpen in this county and city. But yet it seems that almost every November we can change but no one votes for the change. SSDD in lala land.

  7. but we have a trolley that can’t turn left or right! that’ll take you to the tattoo bar – how could they pass that up!

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