AF selects Dannelly Field as F-35 base location

Brig. Gen. Randy Efferson talks to media at a press conference at Dannelly Field.

Brig. Gen. Randy Efferson, Alabama Air National Guard Chief of Staff, addresses the media at a press conference announcing Dannelly Field's selection as an F-35A basing location Dec. 21, 2017 at the 187th Fighter Wing hangar in Montgomery, Ala. Also pictured (left to right) are Elton Dean, Montgomery County Chairman, Governor Kay Ivey, Alabama Governor, and Todd Strange, Montgomery Mayor. (US Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Chris Baldwin)

An F-35A Lightning II aircraft assigned to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, prepares to be refueled by a 459th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker during a flight to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, April 28, 2017. Eight F-35s deployed to Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England April 15, and two forward deployed to Bulgaria for a brief time to engage in familiarization training within the European theater while reassuring allies and partners of U.S. dedication to the enduring peace and stability of the region. The F-35s are assigned to the 34th Fighter Squadron and are supported by total force Airmen from the 388th Fighter Wing, and the Air Force Reserve’s 466th Fighter Squadron, 419th Fighter Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Kate Thornton)

Truax Field, Wisc. and Dannelly Field, Ala. were recently named preferred locations to receive the F-35A Lightning II. The 5th generation aircraft will replace current 4th generation platforms to meet combatant commander requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Kate Thornton)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force has selected Truax Field Air National Guard Base, Wisconsin and Dannelly Field, Alabama as the preferred locations for the next two Air National Guard F-35A bases.

“Selecting Truax Field and Dannelly Field will increase Air National Guard F-35A units providing 5th Generation airpower around the world,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. “As 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.”

F-35As will eventually replace many of the 4th generation Air Force aircraft. However, the Air Force 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.

“Putting F-35s at these two Air National Guard bases continues our transition into the next generation of air superiority,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. “It helps ensure we can always offer the Commander-in-Chief air power options and be ready to penetrate any enemy air defenses, hold any target at risk and go when and where the president tells us to go. We're the options guys. The F-35 is critical to the family of systems we need to accomplish this mission for the nation now and in the future."

At this time, the Air Force expects the F-35As to begin arriving at Truax Field in early 2023 and at Dannelly Field later that year.

These locations remain preferred alternatives until the secretary of the Air Force makes the final basing decisions after the requisite environmental analysis is complete.

The Air Force also evaluated Gowen Field ANGB, Idaho, Selfridge ANGB, Michigan and Jacksonville Air Guard Station, Florida in this round of decisions. 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 location—Hill AFB, Utah, RAF Lakenheath, England, Eielson AFB, Alaska and Burlington AGS, Vermont.

Additionally, the Air Force announced Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas as the preferred alternative for the first Air Force Reserve base.