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New York to get new drone squadron at Hancock Field

March 25, 2005 (by MKopack) - Hancock Field Air National Guard Base will be home to a squadron of Predator Unmanned Aerial drones, a government official said Thursday. This would be the end of the F-16s assigned to the 174FW/138FS.

138th TFS, The Boys from Syracuse - Always Chasing Tail (Asif Shamim Collection)

An unnamed federal government official confirmed that Hancock Field in Mattydale is the base the Air Force has chosen.

The military has used the Predator drones extensively to gather intelligence and conduct surveillance in America's ongoing global war on terrorism.

The Air Force plans to expand its current Predator program to as many as 15 squadrons.

It costs the Air Force $40 million to set up a Predator package, which includes a ground control station, satellite uplink and four aircraft, according to news reports.

The Predator has a two-member crew that controls the drone from the ground. The aircraft has a wingspan of 48 feet and a length of 26 feet. It can find targets and transmit data to the crew back at the ground station, according to the military.

If Syracuse does indeed recieve Predator UAV's it would mean the end of the F-16s assigned to the 174FW/138FS, which have been locally rumored leave with the next round of BRAC cuts.

The 174th Fighter Wing, Hancock Field (ANGB) is located at the Syracuse-Hancock International Airport in Central New York State. It is approximately 5 miles north of the city of Syracuse in Onondaga County.