Talk definitely has started about the next Base Realignment and Closure round—just when many folks thought they’d seen the last. A recent Congressional Research Service report on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program notes that many lawmakers wishing to “BRAC-proof” bases are actively petitioning the Air Force to locate F-35 units in their states. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that having the new fighter in its stable may save Hill AFB, Utah, home of the Ogden Air Logistics Center. The Air Force already has indicated it plans to base at least one squadron of F-35 Lightning IIs at Hill, where the 388th Fighter Wing currently flies the F-16. More importantly perhaps is the fact that Ogden is the depot for the F-16s the new fighter is designed to replace. One would think work on the replacement aircraft would be done at the same depot. However, former Republican Congressman Jim Hansen told the Tribune that he expects another BRAC and “would not be too surprised if one of the three remaining [Air Force] air logistics centers goes on the list in 2012.”
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.