Defense

October 4, 2013

Air Force scraps F-16 Alaska transfer plan

Mark Thiessen
Associated Press

The U.S. Air Force is scrapping its plan to move a fighter jet squadron to Anchorage from Fairbanks, and will not put Eielson Air Force Base in part-time status, Alaska’s congressional delegation announced Oct. 2.

U.S. Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski made the announcement on a joint teleconference with U.S. Rep. Don Young, all of whom had joined community leaders in protesting the plan since the Air Force first announced it nearly two years ago.

This was a decision that was clearly in the best interest of Alaska and the Air Force, Murkowski said shortly after the delegation was informed of the decision by Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning and Pacific Air Forces Gen. Hawk Carlisle

A message left by The Associated Press after business hours with the Department of Defense was not immediately returned.

The Air Force had proposed moving 21 F-16 fighter jets comprising the 18th Fighter Aggressor Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage in a move that would save the Air Force about $200 million. It would also require relocating about 1,200 military members and family to Anchorage.

The proposal drew protests from community members in Fairbanks, North Pole and Salcha, saying the move would be devastating to the local economy. Anchorage leaders also wondered where those relocated would find housing in an already-tight market.

Murkowski said Air Force leaders told them they were reversing course for three reasons. One was to reaffirm the significance of Eielson Air Force base to both Alaska and the Pacific Theater. She said leaders also indicated that not only would the cost savings estimate not be realized, but the move would come at a cost to the military. The third reason given was that the Air Force noted the impact it would have on the Alaska communities involved.

Murkowski credited military leaders for going back and revisiting what they heard from community members at several town hall meetings. That can be tough to do, she said.

The Defense Department had previously recommended Eielson for warm status, a part-time base where squadrons from other bases could use for training after moving the jets.

Begich said this is not a one-year decision, but a long-term win for Eielson after military leaders rebalanced bases in the Pacific region. Eielson is a critical part of that, proven by this decision today, he said.

Young said the importance of Alaska’s location cannot be overlooked, with quick access to Europe and Asia.
We are always going to sit on the same place on the globe, Murkowski said, noting they may have to re-educate future military and congressional leaders of that. We have a strategic advantage, that’s a constant.

All three also noted what they called Alaska’s unequaled space for training both in the air and on the ground.

The Air Force Oct. 3 could release criteria for where it will eventually locate an F-35 squadron. Begich said he’s hopeful they will find a home at Eielson and training partners with the F-16s.

We’re willing and waiting, said Fairbanks Mayor Jerry Cleworth.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 24, 2015

News: More than $1 billion in U.S. emergency reconstruction aid goes missing in Afghanistan - A total of $1.3 billion that the Pentagon shipped to its force commanders in Afghanistan between 2004 and 2014 for the most critical reconstruction projects can’t be accounted for by the Defense Department, 60 percent of all such spending under an...
 
 

News Briefs April 24, 2015

German defense minister: widely used rifle has no future A widely used assault rifle has “no future” with the German military in its current form, Germany’s defense minister said April 22, escalating a dispute over the weapon’s alleged shortcomings. Ursula von der Leyen said last month that a study showed the G36 rifle has a...
 
 
Army photograph

Composites key to tougher, lighter armaments

Army photograph XM-360 test firing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., in 2007, is shown. The Army is on the cusp of revolutionizing materials that go into armament construction, making for stronger, lighter and more durable weapo...
 

 

Northrop Grumman signs long-term agreement with Raytheon

Northrop Grumman has entered a long-term agreement with Raytheon to supply its LN-200 Inertial Measurement Unit for Raytheon optical targeting systems. The long-term agreement with Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business extends through 2018. The LN-200 provides camera stabilization on optical targeting systems that conduct long-range surveillance and target acquisition for various...
 
 

NTTR supports first F-35B integration into USMC’s weapons school exercise

The Nevada Test and Training Range was part of history April 21, when four U.S. Marine Corps-assigned F-35B Lightning IIs participated in its first Marine Corps’ Final Exercise of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course on the NTTR’s ranges. The Final Exercise, or FINEX, is the capstone event to the U.S. Marine Corps Marine Aviation...
 
 
AAR-Textron

AAR awarded new contract from Bell Helicopter Textron to support T64 engines

AAR announced April 22 that Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. awarded its Defense Systems & Logistics business unit a contract providing warehouse and logistics services in support of upgrading T64 engines for the Bell V-280 Val...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>