The US Air Force (USAF) 354th Fighter Wing (FW), the host unit at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, has received its final F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft.

The arrival of the final jet marks the completion of a two-year build-up process.

The Eielson AFB now hosts two additional operational flying squadrons of 54 permanently assigned, combat-coded F-35A aircraft.

354th FW commander Colonel David Berkland said: “Finally receiving our 54th F-35 and completing our combat fleet culminates the end of a two-year beddown process that our team executed without delay, in spite of the global pandemic and our extreme Arctic environment. Today also marks Eielson as a premier, advanced airpower projection location.

“When you station the F-35 at Eielson and you have the F-22 Raptor at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, continuously working together in the JPARC with our 18th Aggressor Squadron and advanced ground training assets, you have the best training field to advance high-end airpower operations.”

The arrival of the final jet at Eielson Air Force Base also strengthens Alaska’s status as one of the most concentrated states for combat-coded, fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

The 354th FW is assigned to the 11th Air Force, which falls under Pacific Air Forces.

The USAF wing is capable of conducting operations, maintenance, mission support and medical group missions.

The 325th FW based in Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida is expected to start receiving the F-35A jets from September 2023.

The airbase is now undergoing necessary overhauling to accommodate the jets.