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Camp Shelby chosen for unmanned aircraft training site

FORREST COUNTY — Camp Shelby, the nation’s largest state-owned and operated military training site, has been chosen from 19 sites around the country as a center to train national guard troops to operate the unmanned aircraft called drones.

The center at Camp Shelby will train soldiers from all over the country and will operate during peace as well as wartime, the Mississippi Army National Guard’s spokesman, retired Lt. Col. Timothy Powell, told The Hattiesburg American.

“The training at this site is not going to be tied to mobilization,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss, said in a news release that the decision means $48 million in equipment and training systems for the camp.

“This center will be the only one of its kind in the nation,” Palazzo said. He said Camp Shelby has held more training and mobilizations for units that deploy drones than any other post in the Army.

The center it is expected to open by the end of this year.

Palazzo said the new mission would dovetail well with work at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems’ Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point. That plant makes products for the Fire Scout, Global Hawk and Broad Area Maritime Surveillance drone programs.

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