Looking for What’s Next in Minnesota

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) continues to press the case for the Air National Guard’s 148th Fighter Wing at Duluth to receive newer aircraft than its Block 25 F-16s. The Duluth News Tribune reports that Klobuchar discussed the topic during an appearance Jan. 3 in Duluth. “It’s important that we keep that base and maintain that base.” she said. “We did at least get some commitment for some planes coming in, but we want an even bigger commitment and we’ll continue working on that through the year,” she added, referencing her Minnesota senate colleague Norm Coleman (R), with whom she has been working on the issue in talks with the Air Guard. The Air Force had planned to gut the base of its fighter, but BRAC 2005 reversed that move. While there have been “assurances” that the base will receive newer F-16 Block 40 aircraft around 2014, the Minnesota Senators would like to see the newer aircraft arrive earlier and have questioned whether the Block 40s represent a long-term solution for the wing.