The US Air Force has announced the list of 11 candidate locations to base the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF).
The six bases selected for F-35 operations are Burlington International Airport Guard Station, Vermont; Hill AFB, Utah; Jacksonville International Airport Air Guard Station, Florida; Mountain Home AFB, Idaho; Shaw AFB, South Carolina; and McEntire Air Guard Base, South Carolina.
The five F-35 training bases include Boise Air Terminal Air Guard Station, Idaho; Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico; Luke AFB, Arizona; and Tucson International Airport Air Guard Station, Arizona.
The selection of these bases signifies that they have the greatest potential to undertake the F-35 training or operational missions.
The bases were selected using previously announced criteria such as airspace, flight training ranges, weather, support facilities, runways, taxi ramps and environmental concerns.
The criteria also considers military judgement factors such as combatant-commander requirements, aircraft retirements and delivery schedules, aircraft maintenance and logistics support, and integration with the air national guard and air force reserve.
Following the announcement of candidate bases, the formal environmental impact analysis process and site assessments will begin.
The assessment will allow communities around each candidate base to participate and provide input into the environmental impact analysis.
The preferred JSF locations are expected to be announced in late 2010 with the final basing decisions list due in early 2011 after the formal environmental impact statements are complete.