Washington, D.C. - The Idaho delegation received notification today that Mountain Home Air Force Base has been chosen as the preferred site to host a training mission for the Royal Saudi Air Force. The training is part of a $60 billion arms package the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is purchasing from the U.S., which includes 84 new F-15E fighter jets and upgrades to the Saudi’s current inventory of F-15C fighters.
“With this decision, the Air Force recognizes the unparalleled assets that make Mountain Home Air Force Base second to none,” said Senator Jim Risch. “Mountain Home already hosts a similar training mission for Singapore’s Air Force, and the base’s abundant ramp space, desert location, and premiere training ranges make it the ideal location to host another international partner and ensure interoperability between U.S. forces and our allies.”
Senator Mike Crapo said, “Mountain Home Air Force Base is well-positioned to support this important agreement with Saudi Arabia and the training mission with the Royal Saudi Air Force. Idaho’s and Mountain Home’s support for our national defense and global interest is second to none. As we move forward, I will work together with the rest of the delegation to ensure that the local community and the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes are thoroughly briefed and have input to ensure a smooth transition for the base and the local community.”
“Mountain Home Air Force Base is a strong national asset and is proud to play a role in securing our nation’s defense and protecting U.S. interests at home and abroad,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “I look forward to learning more about this proposal from the Air Force and how it will impact the base, the local community and the state.”
“This decision is good news for Mountain Home Air Force Base, which plays a significant role in keeping our country’s defense capabilities strong. The community, as well as the nearby Treasure Valley, would also feel an economic benefit from the workers attached to this project,” said Congressman Walt Minnick.
As the Air Force negotiates the Memorandum of Agreement with Saudi Arabia, the delegation will ensure this mission improves U.S. national security and is a benefit for the people of Idaho, the United States, and allies. The Air Force has stated they will work with the Mountain Home community on any and all cultural awareness issues as both the Saudis and the residents of Idaho prepare for this important mission. Public meetings will be held by the Air Force on the mission and to receive feedback. Dates for the meetings have not yet been scheduled.
Although the details of the mission will be finalized in the MOA, the RSAF training squadron will likely be comprised of 12 aircraft with 50 pilots and 100-200 maintenance personnel, some of whom will bring their families. The Saudis are expected to arrive at Mountain Home in late-2013, with the bulk arriving in 2014, when the actual training mission will begin. For 12-24 months beforehand, RSAF aircrews and maintenance personnel will undergo English language training and professional military training at other U.S. Air Force installations.