July 19, 2011 (by Charles Ramey) - The U.S. Air Force has issued a Record of Decision for the proposed basing of F-35A Lightning II aircraft at Nellis Air Force Base.
USAF F-35A #08-7046, the third production model of the F-35 Lightning II, completed its inaugural flight on May 6th, 2011 from NAS Fort Worth with Lockheed Martin test pilot Bill Gigliotti at the controls.
The decision is to proceed with the preferred alternative, which entails basing 36 F-35 fighter aircraft at Nellis AFB
between 2012 and 2020 for the Force Development Evaluation and Weapons School programs. Implementation of this action will be accomplished as set out in the Final Environmental Impact Statement released in May 2011.
The beddown of the F-35 mission at Nellis will result in an increase of 412 personnel; require construction of new facilities, as well as alteration and demolition of existing facilities at Nellis AFB. Flight activities will occur at Nellis AFB and the Nevada Test and Training Range.
Potential impacts associated with implementing the Preferred Alternative were analyzed during the Environmental Impact Statement process. The Final Environmental Impact Statement contains public and agency comments received on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement as well as responses to comments. The Final EIS was made available during a 30-day waiting period (May 14-June 14, 2011).