Madison base on list for receiving new fighter plane

  • Madison base on list for receiving new fighter plane

Madison base on list for receiving new fighter plane

"Given Selfridge's current strategic participation in the fight against ISIS and its strong history of hosting and operating military fighter jets, including the A-10 and F-16, I believe this new F-35 mission would be a ideal fit", said U.S. Sen.

There are 21 A-10 attack planes at Selfridge, and operations related to the jet support 180 full-time jobs and almost 300 part-time jobs there.

The Air Force has already made a decision to base 18 F-35As at Burlington Air Guard Station in Vermont, home of the 158th Fighter Wing. "We are honored that the Air Force recognizes that Jacksonville would be an excellent home for the F-35". If ultimately chosen, the Jacksonville unit would begin to transition from the F-15 fighter jets that it is now using to the new F-35A Joint Strike Fighter jets as early as 2022. Meanwhile, if Selfridge is selected one of the two Guard bases to receive F-35s, they would replace the A-10s, which presumably would be moved elsewhere or retired.

Other bases in consideration to house the F-35A are Dannelly Field Air Guard Station in Montgomery, Ala. Gen. John D. Slocum, commander of the Michigan Air National Guard's 127th Wing, which is the host unit at Selfridge. "The professionals of Florida's 125th and 482nd Fighter Wings are more than worthy of selection for transition to the F-35A Lighting II aircraft".

The press release said the Air Force will now conduct surveys at each site.

"Given that the fighter operations building and munitions facility at Selfridge are both less than 10 years old and that adequate hangar space for fighter aircraft already exists at Selfridge, there is a strong case to be made that the base could quickly adapt to the new mission requirements with minimal costs", said Brig.

The Guard says a few hundred airmen and their families are gathering at the base Wednesday. Royal Air Force Lakenheath in England and Eielson AFB, Alaska have also been identified for F-35A basing.