America’s military drones are in need of a home.
To house these unmanned aircrafts, the U.S. army will build a $33 million drone airport at Fort Bliss in Texas.
The 150-acre facility will include a 50,000-square-foot hanger that will house the MQ-1C Gray Eagle and AAI RQ-7 Shadow drones. The Gray Eagle—which, with a 29-foot length and 56-foot wingspan is the Army’s largest unmanned aerial system (UAS)—will have a 5,000 foot runway, while the 11-foot-long Shadow will have a 1,000-foot-runway. Together, the runways, aprons and taxiways will stretch over a mile, according to Defense Systems.
The project—which was awarded by the Fort Worth Corps of Engineers to Oklahoma construction company SGS—also calls for an aircraft container, a five-ton bridge crane, parking, an overhead canopy and storage for vehicles, oil and hazardous material.
The airport will be entirely fenced and secured, and all airspace around the facility will be restricted.
An expected date for completion hasn’t been released, but it is safe to say that we can expect more similar projects in the future. The U.S. army plans to integrate drones across their full spectrum of military operations, according to their 25-year roadmap for UAS.