Are Military Spy Planes Coming To Niagara Falls?

March 13, 2012 Updated Mar 13, 2012 at 7:09 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

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March 13, 2012 Updated Mar 13, 2012 at 7:09 PM EDT

Niagara Falls, NY (WKBW) - Will military spy planes be coming to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station? It's a question that Federal officials are considering. The proposal from the Council of Governors would bring in new spy missions to the Niagara Falls base. Tuesday, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul said bringing in spy missions to the base is one of a number of options leaders are exploring to avoid more than 800 layoffs at the base. Local congressional delegates have been fighting to avoid drastic cuts at the base ever since it was announced by the Pentagon the Department of Defense's Budget would need to be slashed, forcing an Air Force restructuring.

"I've made the case to the Secretary of the Pentagon a few days ago. I've talked about surveillance and spy planes, but we don't know what the mission will be," said Congresswoman Kathy Hochul. "I just want them to view the Niagara Falls Air Base as part of the military for the future."

Under the current restructuring proposal, the base could lose 3 of it's 11 C-130 Cargo Planes and the 107th Airlift Wing, part of the New York National Guard, could lose it's mission putting close to 850 jobs in jeopardy. The new proposal would give the 107th Airlift Wing a new mission, operating spy planes. Congressional delegates say the proposal includes the use of MC-12W or the MQ-9 Reaper.

"I think you have to consider the tens of millions of dollars that have been invested in that facility and finding new missions will be part of a new generation of the United States Military," said Congressman Brian Higgins.