HomeNewsArticle Display

Eielson selected to receive operational F-35A aircraft

Maj. Charles Trickey, a 461st Flight Test Squadron F-35 Lightning II experimental test pilot, successfully fires the four-barrel 25 mm GAU-22/A Gatling gun while in flight Oct. 30 over China Lake Weapon Range, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Chad Bellay)

Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, was selected as the new home for the Air Force’s first operational overseas F-35A Lightning IIs. Air Force officials chose Eielson AFB after a lengthy analysis of the location’s operational considerations, installation attributes, environmental factors and cost. (U.S. Air Force photo/Chad Bellay)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, was selected as the new home for the Air Force’s first operational overseas F-35A Lightning IIs.

Air Force officials chose Eielson AFB after a lengthy analysis of the location’s operational considerations, installation attributes, environmental factors and cost.

“Alaska combines a strategically important location with a world-class training environment. Basing the F-35s at Eielson AFB will allow the Air Force the capability of using the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC) for large force exercises using a multitude of ranges and maneuver areas in Alaska,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. "This, combined with the largest airspace in the Air Force, ensures realistic combat training for the (Defense Department).”

Proximity to the JPARC will enable the Air Force to take advantage of approximately 65,000 square miles of available airspace for realistic, world-class training in the Air Force’s most advanced fifth-generation fighter.

The decision culminates a three-year process that included an extensive environmental impact statement that examined impacts on such factors as air quality, noise, land use and socioeconomics.

"The decision to base two F-35 squadrons at Eielson AFB, Alaska, combined with the existing F-22 Raptors at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, will double our fifth-generation fighter aircraft presence in the Pacific theater," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. "Integrating that fifth-generation force with Navy, Marine, and allied F-35 forces will provide joint and coalition warfighters unprecedented survivability, lethality and battlespace awareness in contested environments. It's an exciting time for Pacific airpower."

The base is projected to receive two squadrons of F-35As, which will join the wing’s F-16 Fighting Falcon aggressor squadron currently assigned to Eielson AFB.

On-base construction to prepare for the aircraft is expected to start in fiscal year 2017 in order to be ready to accept the first F-35As, which are currently scheduled to begin arriving in 2020.

Preliminary estimates had the new aircraft arriving a year earlier, but officials say the 2020 arrival will provide the Air Force more time and grow its active-duty maintenance force.

“The Air Force is facing a shortage of experienced, active-duty fighter aircraft maintainers as we transition from legacy aircraft to the F-35A,” said Lt. Gen. John B. Cooper, the deputy chief of staff the Air Force for logistics, installations and mission support. “Adjusting the initial plan and slightly accelerating F-35A arrivals at Burlington Air Guard Station, Burlington, Vermont, to fall 2019 will allow the service to stick to the overall F-35 rollout schedule, while capitalizing on the Air National Guard’s experienced fighter aircraft maintenance force as we put additional measures in place to increase the number of trained active-duty maintainers.”

The F-35A, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is a fifth-generation fighter aircraft intended to be the Air Force’s premier strike aircraft through the first half of the 21st century. It is a multi-role fighter that is expected to eventually replace the service’s legacy air-to-ground fighter fleets.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Commander @PACAF Gen Brown & I just arrived in #Vietnam. What an honor to be here. We look forward to meeting Amb Krit…
RT @HQ_AFMC: Congrats to @HAFB for winning a @ENERGY award for #energy efficiency! From facility improvements to solar arrays, the teams at…
RT @AF_TFXC: Training camp is underway for Air Force Cross Country. Tonight, the upperclassman received their #CommitmentKits, symbolic of…
RT @USAFHealth: Lt. Col. Glenn Mandeville's commitment to his community goes beyond his Air Force service and into his everyday life as a g…
RT @AFResearchLab: No, you're not looking through The Predator's helmet, this is a simulated residual stress field due to multi-shot laser…
RT @CoachTimHorton: Congrats to my mentor and former ⁦@AF_Football⁩ Coach ⁦@FisherDeBerry⁩ on being named the recipient of the 6th annual T…
RT @DeptofDefense: Friday reflection. @usairforce airmen prepare to wash an A-10 Thunderbolt II at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. The…
RT @OKGuard: Photo of the Day: Four F-16 Vipers from the @138thFW fly in formation behind a @usairforce KC-135 Stratotanker during a sortie…
RT @EielsonAirForce: The last #REDFLAGAlaska of the year ends today! Here’s what the participants accomplished during RF-A 19-3. @RCAF_ARC
RT @DeptofDefense: Picture perfect. A @usairforce airman assigned to a forward area refueling point program, poses in front of a C-17 Glob…
RT @DOD_Outreach: The @AF_Academy Wings of Blue parajumpers jump out of a C-130 Hercules during a performance for more than 70,000 visitors…
RT @PACAF: .@usairforce medical personnel led a mass casualty exercise to give realistic training scenarios in support of Pac Angel 19-3 #M
RT @Travis60AMW: Beats the garage I have at my place ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Check out this C-17's home when it's not out delivering cargo! #NoBounds #Pr
RT @ArmedwScience: Do you know B.A.T.M.A.N.? Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided Knowledge is the @AFResearchLab's advanced technology de…
RT @AETCommand: How are you staying active today? Last Saturday, Airmen from @HollomanAFB, @CannonAFB_ & @KIRTLAND377ABW competed in the "B…
RT @AETCommand: In order to support #readiness & build a more #lethal force, leaders must foster & promote resilience among their Airmen. D…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force, Lt Gen Briguez said it best, our relationship is etched in stone — iro…
RT @HQAirUniversity: What is @usairforce culture? AU's Command Chief Simmons talks about organizational culture and how the actions modele…
RT @thejointstaff: #DYK today marks the 70th anniversary of the Chairmanship? Watch recently discovered footage from the historic swearing…
This week really flew by fast. Be sure to #Follow, #Like & #RT our @AFThunderbirds for more info on the premiere a… https://t.co/5BM8N7sZTR