Alabama named as location F-35A stealth fighter squadron

The Air Force plans to use the F-35A to replace aging F-16 and A-10 aircraft.									Posted Dec. 21 2017 12:37 PM					Updated Dec. 21 2017 12:37 PM

National Guard units in Wisconsin and Alabama have been selected as homes for new F-35A fighter squadrons, the U.S. Air Force announced Thursday.

Dannelly Field in Montgomery, Ala., and Truax Field in Madison, Wis., have been chosen as "preferred locations" to host F-35A Lightning II squadrons, an Air Force statement said.

If the sites pass an environmental analysis, the F-35As - which lack the short-takeoff, vertical-landing capabilities of the F-35B used by the Marine Corps - should begin arriving at Truax in early 2023 and at Dannelly later that year. "Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Thursday that it was a 'huge announcement" for the state.

Officials say the 18 advanced jets would be flown by the Air National Guard's 115th Fighter Wing and replace all the old F-16 fighters now based at Truax Field.

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According to the Montgomery Advertiser, the selection not only protects 1,400 jobs, but adds 1,000 new jobs and a $70 million initial investment with capitol investment rising to over $1 billion.

The service also considered Gowen Field in Idaho; Selfridge Air National Guard Base in MI; and Jacksonville Air Guard Station in Florida.

For area recruiters, the decision underlines the stability of the 187th Fighter Wing and the Alabama Air National Guard for decades.

The aircraft will become part of the Montgomery-based 187th Fighter Wing. Our 125th Fighter Wing remains strategically located to provide a capable defense against current and emerging threats. "Thank you for your continued faith in us, and for making our state the best place in the nation to wear the uniform".

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