Air Force plans to narrow the list of candidates for F-35 bases in Spring 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Idaho congressional delegation welcomed the news that Gowen Field in Boise is among five candidates to become the home to a new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter squadron. The decision by Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James was announced Wednesday.
Gowen Field and the Idaho Air National Guard ranked highly among 18 candidates, based on factors including weather, training infrastructure, cost, facilities and environment.
The other four finalists are Dannelly Field Air Guard Station in Alabama, Jacksonville Air Guard Station in Florida, Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan and Truax Field Air Guard Station in Wisconsin. Two Air Guard stations will be selected to support 18 to 24 aircraft.
The Air Force will conduct two-week site visits to each of the five candidates in the coming months and plans to select two “preferred” and two “reasonable” alternatives in the Spring of 2017. Those four bases will receive a complete Environmental Impact Analysis before the Secretary issues a final decision, expected in Spring 2019.
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said: “Today’s announcement confirms Gowen Field is an premier location for operations of the U.S. Air Force’s next generation fighter. Our state has a long and proud tradition of supporting our military and contributing to the nation’s defense, and we have the capabilities and air space optimal for a F-35 flying unit. As the Air Force moves ahead with the basing selection process, I look forward to continuing to offer my unwavering support for Idaho’s Air National Guard.”
Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said: “I am pleased that Gowen Field is a candidate for the Air Force’s new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Idaho Air National Guard would be a strong choice for the new F-35 due to Idaho’s world class ranges, available airspace for training, and the unparalleled support throughout the community. Idaho has been home to a range of cutting-edge aircraft and I look forward to continuing this tradition.”
Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, said: “I am delighted by the selection of Gowen Field as a candidate base for the next generation of aircraft -- the F-35 fighter. Idaho has a proud history of supporting the National Guard, and I have the utmost confidence Gowen Field would continue this tradition as a steward of the F-35. I look forward to working with the delegation and the Idaho National Guard to ensure that Gowen Field’s first-class airspace and unparalleled facilities will be recognized as a perfect fit for this mission.”
Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, said: “I’m thrilled that Gowen Field was selected as a finalist. I’m pleased that Secretary James recognized that our Air Guard Station is one of our military’s greatest assets. I look forward to working with the delegation as well as the Idaho National Guard to ensure that Gowen Field is given full and fair consideration in the final basing decision.”