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Fort Drum makes more room for fleet of drones

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 12:00 PM EDT
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FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWNY) - Fort Drum is looking to expand on its drone capabilities. On Wednesday, the post took its first step toward making more room.

Fort Drum boasts many large and powerful aircraft, but it’s the smaller ones that officials say are the way of the future.

They’re unmanned drones, flown remotely into battle.

To continue investing in this modern technology, Fort Drum is building a new hangar to expand its fleet. Officials broke ground Wednesday morning.

“Like our nation’s enemies, our readiness needs are constantly evolving and challenging us. We are not intimidated by that challenge,” said Fort Drum Garrison Commander Col. Jeffrey Lucas. “How we use our training lands and capabilities now and in the future will make all the difference to how we fight, win, and return home.”

At Fort Drum, there are currently five platoons of the smaller unmanned aircraft, and a company of larger unmanned aircraft. Officials say expanding the fleet means fewer soldiers will have to be in harm’s way.

“When we use our autonomous systems - our unmanned systems in particular - we are not putting our pilots in the cockpits or putting them in danger. With the increasing threat of air defense systems around the world, it’s better for us to do that,” said Col. Travis McIntosh, commander, 10th Mountain Division Combat Aviation Brigade.

The new facility will not only house unmanned aircraft, it will also be a training ground for using the most up-to-date-technologies.

“Modernization - we see it as key to helping us win the next fight, and that’s what we do here at Fort Drum. We train hard. We train and fight to win when our nation calls us,” said McIntosh.

The expected completion of the 26,000-square foot facility is October 2022.

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