October 4, 2006 (by ) - Plans for initiating environmental analyses for proposed locations of the Air Force's newest fighter, the F-35A Lightning II, were announced by Air Force officials today.
The initial Joint Strike Fighter locations include Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. for primary maintenance and flight training; Nellis AFB
, Nev. and Edwards AFB, Calif. for flight-testing; and Hill AFB, Utah, Kadena Air Base, Japan, and Shaw AFB/McEntire ANGB, S.C. for operational squadrons. Both stateside operational bases will combine active duty and Reserve Component personnel to maximize flexibility and combat capability.
General T. Michael Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff, said, "Our environmental analyses will facilitate our decision-making process as these locations are evaluated." With this announcement, the Air Force will begin the environmental analysis process, which could take up to two years. Future environmental analyses will study traditional Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve bases along with a selection of Active Duty bases.
"The capabilities we provide the joint warfighter are in high demand, yet we have the oldest aircraft inventory in our history," said General Moseley. "The Air Force will continue to invest in advanced capabilities needed to defeat the emerging technological advances of our adversaries."
The F-35A Lightning II basing plan will create a synergistic "Total Force" mix of Active, Guard and Reserve units operating our newest 5th generation fighter aircraft. The Total Force mix provides the best possible team to deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States in the war on terrorism.
The Air Force is expected to start taking delivery of F-35A aircraft in 2009 with planned deliveries continuing beyond 2025.