The Pentagon is shortly to determine the location of a base for an additional Air National Guard unit with new Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighters.
A review is now complete, and its results are being analysed. A basing decision is expected "in the next couple of months", Air Force General Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters during a 19 September Defense Writers Group breakfast meeting.
USAF officials announced five candidate installations for the next two Air National Guard F-35A locations late in 2016: Dannelly Field Air Guard Station (AGS) in Montgomery, Alabama; Gowen Field AGS in Boise, Idaho; Jacksonville AGS in Florida; Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Detroit; and Truax AGS in Madison, Wisconsin.
The USAF conducted site surveys at each candidate location to assess against "operational requirements, potential impacts to existing missions, infrastructure, and manpower", and subsequently developed cost estimates, the service said.
Burlington AGS in Vermont was previously chosen to host the first Air National Guard F-35A unit – the 158th Fighter Wing. "They're in the process of converting right now, from [Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons] to the F-35," Gen Lengyel said.
The F-35As are expected to commence arrival at the second and third Air National Guard locations in the early to mid-2020s.
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