As Tyndall Air Force Base continues to recover from Hurricane Michael, the U.S. Air Force has proposed a plan to bring the sounds of freedom back to the base.
Tuesday night at Gulf Coast State College, the U.S. Air Force held a public scoping meeting to inform the community of two aircraft beddowns at Tyndall AFB. The two aircrafts in consideration are the F-35A Operational Wing and the MQ-9 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) Operational Wing.
Tyndall AFB is looking at bringing in a total of 72 F-35’s to the base.
The meeting was to give the public an opportunity to learn more about the program and its environmental impact, and voice any concerns.
“Typically, the F-35 more, it’s the noise because, lets face it, jets are noisy,” said Gen. Patrice Melancon, Tyndall Program Management Office Executive Director. “Our traffic patterns, where they fly over, will be the same, so the noisy locations will be the same.”
Another concern brought up by the public is the possible destruction of habit with endangered species.
“We have got to show that we’re not going to have negative impact,” Melancon said.
Tyndall AFB is a unique base that can conduct high-scaled training exercises, like Checkered Flag 20-1 a few weeks ago. The F-35A and MQ-9 mission is important for Tyndall AFB in its growth for the future.
“The F-35 is a multi-role fighter, so it conducts both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions all around the world,” said Col. Brian Laidlaw, Commander of the 325th Fighter Wing. “The F-35 is the aircraft that Air Force to replace F-16s and A-10s and the Navy will use to replace the F-18s and the Marine Corps will use F-18s and AV-8B Harriers.”
The MQ-9 Reaper is a drone that will replace the MQ-1 that was famously known as the Predator. The Predator was officially retired by the U.S. in March of 2018.
“The MQ-9 is larger and can carry a larger payload than the MQ-1,” said James Lewis, the MQ-9 Deputy Branch Chief from Langley Air Force Base. “It can fly higher, farther, and carries a larger payload.”
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