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Air Force finalizes choice of Alabama Air Guard unit for F-35 jets

F-35A Lightning II fighter jets approach a KC-10 Extender tanker aircraft from Travis Air Force Base, California, during a flight from England to the United States. (Staff Sgt. Madelyn Brown/U.S. Air Force SJN/TNS)

The Air Force has finalized its decision to pick the 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field in Montgomery as one of two new Air National Guard sites for the F-35A Lightning II fighter jet.

The Air Force had announced the decision in late 2017 but could not finalize it until completing an environmental analysis, the Air Force announced today.

“Our state not only has a rich history in flight, but we have longstanding support of our nation’s military and defense,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a news release. “I am grateful to the secretary of the Air Force for recognizing what Alabama will continue to offer our military efforts. Most importantly, I am appreciative of the hard work our congressional delegation and the many people who have helped make this possible.”

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones issued a statement about the decision.

“This is great news for the 187 FW’s mission capabilities and for the state as a whole,” Jones said. “The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter represents the cutting edge of military technology and will enhance the Wing’s opportunities to continue their outstanding record of contributions to our national security. From my position on the Senate Armed Services Committee, I will continue to advocate for Congress to allocate the funds for the facilities needed to house and maintain these aircraft in time for their expected arrival in December of 2023.”

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The Air Force chose the 115th Fighter Wing at Truax Field in Madison, Wisc., as the other new site.

“Putting F-35s at these two bases continues our transition into the next generation of air superiority,” Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett said in a press release.

Delivery of the aircraft is scheduled to begin in 2023.

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