The US National Guard Bureau has proposed to beddown one squadron of the F-15EX fighter jets and F-35A Lightning II aircraft.
This action is intended to enable the Department of Air Force (DAF) to effectively maintain mission readiness, homeland defence and combat capability.
The F-15EX beddown is being proposed at two of the three Air National Guard’s (ANG) alternative locations while the F-35As are to beddown at one of four alternative locations.
The alternative locations include Barnes ANG Base at Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport, Westfield, Massachusetts; Fresno ANG Base at Fresno Yosemite International Airport, Fresno, California; Naval Air Station (NAS) Joint Reserve Base New Orleans, Belle Chasse, Louisiana; and NAS Lemoore, Lemoore, California.
Each location can be used for either F-35A and F-15EX, with the exception of NAS Lemoore, which can only support the F-35A beddown.
The beddown effort is to replace the existing ageing F-15C/D fleet at the proposed alternative locations, where the aircraft are currently based.
Additionally, the proposed effort also requires personnel to operate and maintain F-15EX and F-35A aircraft, as well as construct new and/or modification of existing facilities at installations supporting beddowns.
It will require approximately 100 additional personnel for the F-15EX aircraft beddown while around 80 personnel for supporting the F-35A beddown.
The USAF will also undertake necessary construction projects for the successful implementation of the aircraft’s beddown at selected locations.
If the proposed beddown of either aircraft at the four locations does not materialise, the four bases can continue operating the F-15C/D fleet while future options will be analysed.
The USAF may also consider a ‘No Action’ alternative, under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), where none of the alternative locations would receive F-15EX or F-35A aircraft, and no associated construction would occur.