Thursday December 05, 2013
In an announcement made Tuesday, December 3, the Air Force made it official- Burlington has been selected as the first Air National Guard base to host the F-35A Lightning IIs.
Air Force officials decided on the Burlington Air Guard Station as their number one choice after a long process which rated multiple bases on operations, economic and environmental factors.
“Burlington Air Guard Station (AGS) was selected because it presents the best mix of infrastructure, airspace and overall cost to the Air Force,” said Timothy Bridges, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations.
“Burlington’s airspace and ranges can also support projected F-35A operational training requirements and offers joint training opportunities with F-15Cs from Barnes AGS, the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, and CF-18s stationed at Canadian Forces Base Bagotville in Quebec.”
The Air Force notes VTANG’s success with the current F-16 program, which will facilitate the transition to the F-35As when they arrive. This arrangement allows the Air Force to increase its F-35A utilization rates thereby optimizing this new weapons system.
Maj. Gen. Steve Cray, The Adjutant General of Vermont said, “We are pleased with the Secretary of the Air Force’s decision, the Vermont Air Guard has always known that this decision would be the right choice for the State of Vermont and the Nation. We are proud of our Airmen and our mission and are committed to moving forward with our community partners.”
18 F-35As, the first of which are scheduled to arrive in 2020, are projected to replace the F-16 Fighting Falcons which are the oldest version of the F-16 aircraft.