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New mission for RAFB, new opportunities for economic benefits

Courtesy: RAFB 116th Air Control Wing

Robins Air Force Base impacts not just the economy in middle Georgia but the whole state's.

“All in all you’re looking at over $2.8 billion every year into the economy," said Chrissy Miner, president and CEO of the 21st Century Partnership.

Something Robins has that no other base does, the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System or JSTARS.

That mission employs 2,000 to 2,500 airmen and women and had an economic impact of $195 million dollars to Georgia in 2017, according to a report from the JSTARS unit.

In June, Robins was announced as the home of a new mission, the Advanced Battle Management System. Senator David Perdue said that if anything, it will expand opportunities at Robins.

"We don’t know how big this program is going to be. We’re assured that it’ll be at least as big as JSTARS if not bigger," he said.

In a statement, Robins officials said, "ABMS will integrate battlefield surveillance information from a variety of sensors to provide commanders better situational awareness in combat.”

Perdue pushed for the mission to be included in 2019’s defense spending bill.

"This ensures that Robins will have a huge flying mission over the next several decades and will be at the forefront of coordinating with the cyber center in Augusta in the new age of warfare that we see Russia and China doing today," Perdue said.

Perdue said that the goal is for JSTARS to eventually be phased out but not until the ABMS is established. For the next decade, he said that JSTARS will continue to have the same number of planes and personnel.

Miner said it's hard to tell what the economic impact of ABMS will eventually be, but she's certain there will be one.

“Anytime we’re talking about a new mission coming to RAFB, it’s very exciting,” she said.

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