Air Force Announces Record of Decision for Operational Basing of the F-35A in Burlington, Vermont
Burlington Air Guard Station was selected as the first Air National Guard base to host the F-35A Lightning IIs.
Air Force officials chose Burlington AGS after a
lengthy analysis of multiple locations’ operational considerations,
installation attributes, 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.”
Another strength of Burlington AGS is the mature and highly successful active association with its current F-16s that will 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.
The first F-35As are scheduled to arrive in 2020.
"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," said MAJ GEN Steve Cray, The Adjutant General of Vermont.
The base is projected to receive 18 F-35As, replacing the 18 F-16 Fighting Falcons currently assigned to Burlington. Burlington AGS currently hosts the oldest version of the F-16 aircraft and this decision allows the Air Force to retire those aircraft.
The F-35A, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is a fifth-generation fighter aircraft intended to be the Air Force’s premier strike aircraft through the first half of the 21st Century. It is a multirole fighter that is expected to eventually replace the service’s F-16 and A-10 fleets.