The US National Guard Bureau has suggested to down a squadron of F-15EX fighter jets and F-35A Lightning II jets.
This action is intended to enable the Department of the Air Force (DAF) to effectively maintain mission readiness, national defense and warfighting capabilities.
The F-15EX is offered at two of the three Air National Guard (ANG) alternate locations, while the F-35As must be deployed to one of the four alternate locations.
Alternate locations include Barnes ANG Base at Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport, Westfield, Massachusetts; Fresno ANG Base at Fresno Yosemite International Airport, Fresno, California; Naval Air Station (NAS) Joint Reserve Base New Orleans, Belle Chasse, LA; and NAS Lemoore, Lemoore, California.
Each location can be used for both F-35As and F-15EXs, with the exception of NAS Lemoore, which can only support F-35As.
The shutdown effort is to replace the existing aging F-15C/D fleet at proposed alternate locations where the aircraft are currently based.
In addition, the proposed effort also requires personnel to operate and maintain F-15EX and F-35A aircraft, as well as construction of new and/or modification of existing facilities at bed support installations.
This would require approximately 100 additional personnel to support the F-15EX aircraft, while approximately 80 personnel to support the F-35A base.
The US Air Force will also undertake the necessary construction projects to successfully deploy the aircraft bed at selected locations.
If the proposed grounding of any of the aircraft at the four locations does not materialize, the four bases may continue to operate the F-15C/D fleet while future options are analyzed.
The US Air Force may also consider a “No Action” alternative under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), where none of the alternative sites would receive F-15EX or F-35A aircraft and there would be no associated construction.