In the next month or two the Air Force expects to decide on two additional locations in the U.S. to base F-35s with Air National Guard units, which would be on top of a decision last year to base the guard’s first F-35s with the Vermont Air National Guard.
The Air Force is studying five possible locations and will select two for the next F-35 Air National Guard F-35 deployments, Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said on Tuesday. An Air Force spokeswoman told Defense Daily a decision on the additional F-35 bases is planned in the next month or two.
In late 2019, the 158th Fighter Wing at the Burlington Air National Guard Base will begin receiving the first of an authorized 18 F-35s, a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau said. The F-35s are replacing F-16s operated by the Fighter Wing and will arrive through 2020, he said.
“All F-35 basing decisions follow the established Air Force STRATEGIC basing process,” a spokesman for the director of the Air National Guard within the National Guard Bureau, said. That process includes outreach to key stakeholders, including the Air National Guard and major Air Force commands, he said, which is then considered alongside other factors for a final decision by the secretary of the Air Force.
“As part of that process, the Secretary of the Air Force seeks input from key stakeholders such as the ANG and other AF Major Commands for example. That input is aggregated along with a host of other factors for consideration in the final decision by the Air Force Secretary.”
“The Air Force needs more of them,” Lengyel said of the F-35s. “We need more of them faster to deal with the threat in the world today.”
Lockheed Martin [LMT] is building F-35s for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and international partners.