By Gabriel Monte, Freedom New Mexico
The 318th Special Operations Squadron will begin flying combat missions out of Cannon Air Force Base in June, according to 27th Special Operations Wing Commander Tim Leahy.
The expansion at the air base’s main runway is nearly completed and more aircraft are expected Leahy said during Tuesday’s joint luncheon with the city of Clovis and Curry County at the Clovis-Carver Public Library.
The quarterly luncheons are used to provide updates among area officials.
The 318th Special Operations Squadron uses single-engine PC-12 aircraft to transport special operations forces in sensitive areas. Leahy said the squadron currently has three aircraft at Cannon. Air Force officials said they expect 10 PC-12s to be stationed at Cannon.
Leahy, who took command of the base when it transitioned from a jet fighter squadron to special operations base in October, said a large portion of the 3rd Special Operations Squadron from Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada is expected in the summer. The squadron uses MQ-1 predator unmanned aircraft.
He said personnel for the 16th Special Operations Squadron is expected to come in the fall. The AC-130 gunship aircraft associated with the squadron is expected at the base next summer.
He also said the base is working on getting a designated quiet zone on the base to keep trains from blowing their horns at the Curry Road R train intersection. He said the noise from the train is a major housing complaint.
He also said the base is also working on a solution to deal with signal interference from passing vehicles on Curry Road R. The vehicles interfere with aircraft instruments during inclement weather, forcing some planes to land in Albuquerque.