SECRETARY OF the US Air Force Heather Wilson announced on December 21 that the USAF has selected Truax Field Air National Guard Base, Wisconsin and Dannelly Field, Alabama as the preferred locations for the next two Air National Guard Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II bases.Â â€œSelecting Truax Field and Dannelly Field will increase Air National Guard F-35A units providing 5th Generation airpower around the world,â€ said Wilson. Â â€œAs 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.â€
F-35As will eventually replace many of the 4th generation USAF aircraft. Â However, the USAF will continue to fly a mix of 5th and 4th generation fighters into the 2040s, in order to maintain enough fighters to meet combatant commander requirements, provide required training and allow a reasonable deployment tempo for the force.
At this time, the USAF expects the F-35As to begin arriving at Truax Field in early 2023 and at Dannelly Field later that year.Â These locations remain preferred alternatives until the secretary of the USAF makes the final basing decisions after the requisite environmental analysis is complete.
The USAF also evaluated Gowen Field ANGB, Idaho, Selfridge ANGB, Michigan and Jacksonville Air Guard Station, Florida in this round of decisions. Â Those bases were reasonable alternatives, but not preferred.
Previously, the secretary of the Air Force selected three active duty operational locations and one Air National Guard locationâ€”Hill AFB, Utah, RAF Lakenheath, England, Eielson AFB, Alaska and Burlington AGS, Vermont.
Additionally, the USAF announced Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas as the preferred alternative for the first Air Force Reserve base.