F-22s from Tyndall AFB, Fla., arrive at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., on Oct. 14, 2018. USAF has officially proposed moving the F-22 training unit, which was based at Tyndall prior to Hurricane Michael's devastation, to Langley. Air Force photo by SrA. Derek Seifert.
The Air Force this week officially proposed moving the F-22 training unit to JB Langley-Eustis, Va., as Tyndall AFB, Fla., continues its recovery from Hurricane Michael.
On Monday, the Air Force identified Langley as the candidate base for F-22 training and the associated T-38 aircraft. The Air Force will now conduct an environmental impact study, which takes between 24-48 months to complete, according to a release.
Hurricane Michael hit Tyndall directly on Oct. 10, causing catastrophic damage and forcing the base to evacuate all the aircraft it could, while the storm damaged any aircraft that remained. Afterward, the F-22 training unit moved to nearby Eglin AFB, Fla., and other aircraft headed to units at Langley; JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; and JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
Moving training to Langley is a “permanent solution” that will help address readiness and pilot production at a location that “optimizes readiness” by building on existing infrastructure, the Air Force said in the release.
The Air Force announced in December that F-22s would likely leave Tyndall for good. The base is keeping other missions, including the 1st Air Force Operations Center, the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, and the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, and it will become a new home to F-35s around 2023.
The Langley announcement comes as the Air Force is reassessing the basing of its F-22 fleet, including bringing Raptors back from combat in the Middle East, to meet the push for increased readiness.