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Eielson among 9 finalists for new fighter jets

Oct. 13, 2013 - 11:58AM   |  
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FAIRBANKS, ALASKA — An Alaska Air Force base is among nine finalists for the service’s new F-35A Joint Strike Fighter squadron.

Pacific Air Forces commander Maj. Gen. Hawk Carlisle commended Eielson Air Force Base’s abundant training space but said the base’s winters and its remoteness presented challenges.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Air Force plans to identify a list of candidate bases among nine Pacific Rim installations.

Criteria include capacity, environmental considerations and cost.

The three members of Alaska’s congressional delegation plan to draft a joint letter about the F-35 basing criteria next week.

Eielson was the target of a Defense Department reduction effort in 2005. Defense officials proposed removing the base’s F-16 and A-10 squadrons, but a congressional authorized independent panel ultimately recommended that only the A-10s be transferred out.

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