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FORT SMITH, Ark.— A plan by Air Force officials would remove the A-10 aircraft mission from the 188th Fighter Wing in Fort Smith next year and possibly replace it with one involving remotely piloted aircraft.
The proposal released by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz on Friday would give the 188th Fighter Wing an MQ-1/9 Remote Split Operations Squadron that would be made up of unmanned aerial vehicles commonly referred to as drones.
The MQ-1 and MQ-9 wouldn't be assigned to the base, only a ground control operation station from which the unmanned aircraft are operated.
The 188th currently has about 1,000 airmen, a full-time staff of approximately 350 and 21 A-10 planes.
"This is a good opportunity for the airmen to get in on the action," Balch said, calling it "the mission of the future."