Air Force selects Montgomery for new F-35 fighter jet program

Air Force selects Montgomery for new F-35 fighter jet program

MONTGOMERY, AL (WAFF) - The Air Force has selected Dannelly Field, home of the 187th Fighter Wing, "The Red Tails" of the Alabama Air National Guard in Montgomery, for the new F-35 Lightning II fighter jet program.

The Air Force has been working to identify site locations for Operations 5 and 6 for the F-35 fighter jet program. The Air Force currently trains 90 percent of their officers at Maxwell Air Force Base, in Montgomery.

The F-35 is a 5th Generation fighter jet that combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three variants of the F-35 will replace legacy fighters for the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and 10 other countries around the world.

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby released the following statement:

"This announcement by the Air Force is excellent news for our state and a true testament to Alabama's work in the defense sector. The strong support of the community, along with the proximity of Dannelly Field to several other major military bases, saving both time and money, led Air Force Secretary Wilson to choose Montgomery for the new F-35A fighter jet program. I am extremely proud of the operational strength of the 187th Fighter Wing, and I look forward to seeing the success of this new undertaking."

According to the Air Force, the F-35 will replace the Air Force's aging fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolt II's.

The 187th Fighter Wing, a part of the Alabama Air National Guard, is stationed at Montgomery Air National Guard Base and currently includes a squadron of F-16 fighter jets, a combat communications group, an RC-26 reconnaissance aircraft squadron, and an eagle vision unit.

Truax Field at Dane County Regional Airport in Wisconsin was also announced as a new site for the F-35 fighter jet program.

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