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Two new building projects began Aug. 29 with pomp and the ceremonial breaking of ground at Webster Outlying Field. Military leaders, Sen. Ben Cardin, Rep. Steny Hoyer and a group of distinguished guests gathered to celebrate the projects: the P-140 Special Communications Requirements Engineering Facility and the Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations Building.

P-140 Special Communications Requirements Engineering Facility

The Special Communications Requirements Division is engaged in all facets of electronic and communications systems, subsystems and equipment used by the Navy, Army, Air Force, Joint Special Operations Forces, and other DoD and government agencies.

Capt. Ted Mills, commanding officer of NAS Patuxent River, served as the master of ceremony for the communication engineering facility groundbreaking.

"In the hours following 9/11, we found that many of the agencies working to help our nation recover were having trouble communicating securely," Mills said. "The SCR Division is here to make sure that doesn't happen again. Here (at Webster Field), SCR designs for critical communication and electronic technologies will be conceived and developed which will then enable our war fighters in the Special Operations Forces and Intelligence communities to be the best in the world."

The 18,000 square foot, $9.6 million facility will house a high-bay Mechanical Integration Area for communications installation, secure lab and office spaces, mechanical engineering and computer-aided-design space. Exterior amenities will include site access road, staff parking, pedestrian walkways, simulated C-130 loading ramp and paved vehicular staging area. The building will also achieve a LEED Silver rating and feature sustainable elements such as a green roof and solar power.

Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations Building

Maj. Gen. James A. Adkins, adjutant general of Maryland, later welcomed many of the same guests to the groundbreaking for the Maryland Army National Guard Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations Building.

Approximately 10,000 square feet, the $4.7 million TUAS facility will support A Company, Detachment 1, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, which operates and maintains the Shadow 200 aircraft, a relatively new system fielded to Army, Army National Guard and U.S. Marine Corps forces around the world.

Featured areas of the building include mission and flight operations, hangar/aviation maintenance, simulation center, training support, classrooms, administrative and support areas and an observation platform. Supporting infrastructure will include hangar aprons, vehicle parking, site and runway access roads, security lighting, fencing, utilities and other items required to make the facility complete and usable.

Both Cardin and Hoyer agreed that the new facilities will greatly augment two important missions at Webster Fieldcommunications and unmanned aircraftby enhancing intelligence capabilities and providing valuable resources for the Maryland National Guard.

Both buildings are scheduled for completion by summer 2013.