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New Coast Guard aircraft, more turbines bound for units on MMR

Air Station Cape Cod is transitioning from Falcon search-and-rescue jet aircraft to the new HV114 model, which can remain airborne for nine hours. The Falcon fleet is being retired.

This news came in a briefing provided Bourne selectmen by the Massachusetts Military Reservation commanders last week.

The Coast Guard is also spending $10 million on landing and runway facilities in need of upgrading at Otis Air National Guard Base. This is a four-year project.

Also: some Otis housing units in the Bourne section of the former Air Force base are being demolished while new housing is being constructed.

The Coast Guard is also trying to sidestep any federally mandated furloughs of civilians working for the service at Otis. Patrol hours will be cut in some missions, but search-and-rescue operations remain untouched to date by the so-called federal sequestration cutbacks ordered to bring national debt and spending into control.

The Air Force 6th Space Warning Squadron, also known as PAVE-PAWS, will add two more turbines to its Camp Edwards wind farm at the Sagamore section of Camp Edwards. Two turbines dominate the canal vista now.

The 101st Intelligence Squadron continues to receive, evaluate and process information from pilot-less drone aircraft.

Commanders – in their good neighbors mode – advised selectmen the military is still trying to identify shared issues with the towns surrounding the 22,000-acre MMR, including land-use studies and wastewater matters. The overall idea, the officers said, is to reduce their operating costs.

Some 3,690 employees work on the MMR. The economic input totals nearly $406 million.

Selectwoman Linda Zuern told the military members that federal cutbacks should be effected elsewhere.

“The military is the thing we should budget first,” she said. “Cut the other things, but not the military.”