Friday, December 22, 2017

Selfridge Air National Guard Base passed over for F-35A fighter jet base

  • Selfridge air base in Harrison Township not chosen for F-35 base
  • Sites in Wisconsin and Alabama chosen
  • Selfridge to continue A-10 fighter craft operations

Selfridge Air National Guard Base was not among the two bases the U.S. Air Force chose to host a squadron of F-35A fighter jets, the Air Force announced Thursday.

Selfridge in Macomb County's Harrison Township had been competing for the opportunity to house the military's newest and most advanced fighter with four other finalists, including the two winners: Truax Field Air National Guard Base in Wisconsin and Dannelly Field in Alabama.

Macomb County and state officials had lobbied the Air Force and rolled out an economic feasibility study in a bid to host 18 to 24 F-35A Lightning II fighter planes. It offered the promise of new jobs and prolonged military commitment to the site.

The state and county officials, including Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, had sought to highlight how the county's defense industry is larger than that in the other metropolitan regions competing for the planes and jobs.

The Selfridge plan had the backing of U.S. Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, two Democrats. But it also had support from Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, a Republican, and the conservative base in Macomb County.

Peters said Thursday in a statement that Selfridge is still a "strong contender" to host F-35 aircraft in the future.

For now, Selfridge will continue its current operations with A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft.

"I will continue working to ensure the base maintains a fighter mission for years to come," Peters said in the statement.

The other two finalists for the F-35 conversion were Gowen Field Air National Guard Base in Idaho and Jacksonville Air Guard Station in Florida.

"Selecting Truax Field and Dannelly Field will increase Air National Guard F-35A units providing fifth generation airpower around the world," Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said in the release. "As F-35As arrive at these locations, we will use the existing aircraft at these fields to replace the aging F-16s at other Air National Guard units."

The Air Force said it aims for the F-35As to start landing at Truax and Dannelly fields in 2023. The two fields are being called "preferred alternatives" until a final decision is made after an environmental analysis. 

Story and comments ➤

No comments:

Post a Comment