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Forum staff reports , Published December 26 2012

Congress OKs defense bill that benefits North Dakota

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The 2013 Defense Authorization bill that supports North Dakota Air Force missions was approved by Congress late last week, announced Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., in a statement Wednesday.

The bill directs the U.S. Air Force to maintain another 32 C-130 or C-27J aircraft. The bill also establishes a commission to review the aircraft, some of which previously were considered for retirement.

According to Hoeven’s statement, Fargo’s Air National Guard base is in line for the C27-J, which is a cargo aircraft able to operate in remote environments and take off and land from unprepared surfaces.

Hoeven said he will push for three C-27J aircraft that already have been built to be delivered to Fargo.

At Grand Forks Air Force Base, the bill guarantees funding and operations of Global Hawk unmanned aerial systems.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk program, supported by this bill, calls for 31 Block 30 Global Hawks and 11 Block 40 Global Hawks. The base received its first Global Hawk last year.

At Minot Air Force Base, the legislation authorizes $436 million for systems related to intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as $63 million for B-52 research and development.

The bill now goes to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.

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