Calls to Delay F-35 Basing Decision

The Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan watchdog organization, is urging the Air Force to delay F-35A basing decisions until the aircraft’s safety record “is better established,” according to a letter from POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian to Acting Secretary Eric Fanning and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh. In the Nov. 6 letter, Brian says it’s “clearly prudent” to delay the decision until questions on the impact sequestration will have on future funding levels for testing and flight hours can be answered. “It is irresponsible for you to rush to beddown this immature aircraft in a residential zone,” she writes, specifically referencing plans for the Burlington ANGS, Vt., location. In 2010, the Air Force identified Burlington as the preferred F-35 base for the National Guard. Community residents also have raised concerns, according to the letter, citing unease about the high amount of flammable composite material and the toxicity of stealth coating used in the F-35.