The US Air Force (USAF) has chosen Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, as the preferred location for the next F-35 training squadron.
Eglin AFB served as the location of the F-35 initial joint training site that hosted F-35s belonging to the US Air Force, US Navy and US Marine Corps.
In 2014, the marine corps shifted its F-35Bs to a different location. The navy also announced that it will relocate its F-35Cs this year.
USAF secretary Heather Wilson said: “By basing the next F-35A training squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, we are taking advantage of existing facilities and training air space.”
The service expects that the additional F-35As will start arriving at the end of 2021. The new squadron is anticipated to achieve full operational capability by mid-2023.
USAF chief of staff general David Goldfein said: “The F-35 is a game-changer with its unprecedented combination of lethality, survivability and adaptability.
“Bringing this new training squadron to Eglin (AFB) allows us to expand fifth generation fighter training so we can dominate in any conflict.”
Basing the additional F-35 training unit at Eglin AFB is, however, subject to certain conditions.
The F-35 basing action is dependent on the completion of the necessary environmental analysis.
F-22 Raptor formal training unit temporarily operating at Eglin AFB would be permanently moved to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. The move is subject to the National Environmental Policy Act and other regulatory and planning processes.
In March, the USAF revealed that it is planning to move the F-22 training unit to JB Langley-Eustis.
Meanwhile, the US Air Force Research Laboratory started construction on a munitions research facility at the Eglin AFB.
The facility will be used to reinforce research on ammunition and potential troop capacities.