The Department of the Air Force announced today Selfridge Air National Guard Base was not selected as one of the two preferred alternative locations to receive F-35s during this round of basing. Selfridge, was however, identified as a reasonable alternative location and is being studied with an Environmental Impact Study process.
“We’re disappointed we weren’t selected as one of the two preferred alternative locations for this round of F-35 basing,” said Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, 127th Wing and Selfridge Air National Guard Base commander. “However, the Citizen-Airmen of Selfridge are always leaning forward we’ll continue building upon our legacy of excellence. I am confident in the enduring fighter mission here and the future of Selfridge.”
Alabama and Wisconsin Air National Guard Bases were selected as the second and third Air National Guard F-35 locations. The Vermont Air National Guard was the first ANG unit and was selected in early 2014. The Air Force made the decision for the newest locations after reviewing operational requirements, impacts to existing missions, infrastructure, manpower, and conversion cost estimates. The basing process linked missions and Combatant Commander requirements to installation attributes, cost considerations, and professional military judgment to identify locations best suited to support any given mission.
“Although Selfridge was not selected to receive the F-35 during this round of basing, the decision by the Air Force to maintain the A-10 as an integral part of the fighter fleet is an extremely positive development,” said Maj. Gen. Gregory J. Vadnais, Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard. “Our Airmen, military families, and communities will continue to collaborate with the Total Air Force to increase the readiness of the fighter force and protect our nation.”
This is not Selfridge’s last opportunity to transition to the F-35, there will be additional rounds of F-35 basing in the future. While F-35’s will eventually replace many fourth generation aircraft, there is a continued need to fly a mix of aircraft into the 2040s. Therefore the A-10s at Selfridge and the base’s mission remains critically important.
Selfridge recently received funding by the Air Force for an $8 million design study for an estimated $70 million fighter maintenance complex, demonstrating the Air Force and Air National Guard commitment to Selfridge and its 100-year legacy as a fighter base.
“As one of the top five finalists in the current round of basing decisions, I remain confident that we will be very competitive to receive the F-35 in the future,” said Vadnais.
“We will continue flying our A-10s that are projected to remain in the Air Force inventory into the 2030s,” said Slocum. “All the while, we’ll continue to build upon and improve our facilities and infrastructure for the next round of F-35 basing decisions. I am highly confident that we will be flying the F-35 here at Selfridge in the future.”
The Air Force is currently conducting on-the-ground Environmental Impact Studies at each of the five bases. Once the environmental analyses are completed, the Air Force will consider the potential environmental impacts at each location before making a final basing decision. This process generally takes approximately 2 years.
The 127th Wing is unique in the Air National Guard, flying two, round-the-clock missions with the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker.
The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. The Lightning II is a single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft designed for many missions with advanced, integrated sensors built into every aircraft. Missions that were traditionally performed by small numbers of specialized aircraft, such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and electronic attack missions can now be executed by a squadron of F-35s, bringing new capabilities to many allied forces. (Information from www.f35.com.)