The classified mission, which takes place over Washington and northern Virginia, has been met with complaints from local residents due to the noise it generates, as it involves flying 10 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, according to Bloomberg.
The mission was mentioned in a Pentagon request to Congress in July which was related to obtaining $1.55 million from Congress for aircraft maintenance, air crews and travel for an “emerging classified flight mission.”
“Without additional funding, the Army will not be able to perform this classified mission,” the Defense Department said at the time, also noting that the mission’s duration “is undetermined,” Bloomberg reported.
In September, Congress approved the requested $1.55 million worth of funding for the classified mission. Some of the money was used to establish a “Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility” at Davison Army Airfield at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, close to Washington, DC. At the time, Colonel Sunset Belinsky, a spokesperson for the Army Military District of Washington, said that the facilities were “undergoing renovation” for what she described as “an enduring mission.”
According to Belinsky, the operation will help make sure the US military is “prepared to respond to a natural or manmade disaster.”
Earlier this year, Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) met with Brigadier General Omar Jones, the commander of the Military District of Washington, to discuss the noise complaints.
“They agreed to work together to seek ways to mitigate helicopter noise for Northern Virginia,” Beyer’s office said in a statement, Bloomberg reported.