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Air Force eyes Arizona air base for F-35A squadron

(USAF Photo)

PHOENIX — An Arizona base was being considered for the future home of the Air Force Reserve’s F-35A Lightning II.

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson was joined on the list by Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida; Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas; and Whiteman AFB, Missouri.

The military branch made the announcement Tuesday.

An excited U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, chair of the Committee on Armed Services, tweeted out the news.

The Tucson base is home to the A-10 “Warthog” jet, which had been threatened by budget cuts. The fleet earned a reprieve and will remain active until 2022.

“The Air Force is committed to a deliberate and open process to address F-35 basing,” said Jennifer A. Miller, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations.

The squadron choice likely will be made in the fall. Plans had some of the new 35A fighter jets arriving by summer 2023.

The site will be chosen based on “mission requirements (weather, airspace and training range availability), capacity (sufficient hanger and ramp space, and facility considerations), environmental requirements, and cost factors,” according to the statement.

The Arizona Daily Star reported that activists have fought the assignment, citing the noise level created to neighborhoods.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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