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Forum staff reports, Published August 03 2012

Senate bill bolsters North Dakota air base missions

WASHINGTON – A bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee includes funding for North Dakota air base missions in Fargo, Grand Forks and Minot, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said Thursday.

Hoeven, who serves on the committee, said the fiscal year 2013 Department of Defense appropriations bill includes provisions to ensure funding and operations for C-27J cargo aircraft in Fargo, Global Hawk unmanned aerial systems in Grand Forks and B-52 bomber and intercontinental ballistic missile systems in Minot.

The bill requires the secretary of the Air Force to use funds already appropriated to buy C-27J cargo aircraft. The bill also includes $138 million for the aircraft’s operations through 2013.

The C-27J is a smaller, more flexible cargo aircraft that is newer and less expensive to operate than the larger C-130 now in service, Hoeven said.

The C-27J was canceled by the Air Force as part of cost-savings requirements, but losing the new planes would make Fargo’s Air Guard the only one in the country without a manned mission.

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