Three squadrons of F-35As will come to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., the Air Force formally announced March 29, after years of groundwork.
The aircraft will begin to arrive in September 2023, with the base eventually housing three squadrons of 24 aircraft each once the base’s 325th Fighter Wing reaches full mission capability, according to a Tyndall release.
The plan was first announced in 2018 following the devastation caused by the Category 5 Hurricane Michael, which essentially leveled the base and prompted the move of F-22s from Tyndall to other bases. USAF officials quickly requested funding to rebuild the base in a “tailored way” to accommodate the F-35s, service officials said at the time.
In August 2019, then-Vice President Mike Pence and then-Acting Air Force Secretary Matthew P. Donovan announced USAF had completed a basing study to greenlight the plan. The March 29 announcement means USAF has completed the environmental impact study and the selection is official.
“Adding F-35 squadrons at Tyndall ensures Airmen will continue to have a strategic advantage as the 325th Fighter Wing enhances fighter training and combat readiness,” said Col. Greg Moseley, 325th FW commander, in the release.
USAF officials say Tyndall is the right pick for F-35s because of its infrastructure capability, quality of life for Airmen, and especially the proximity to the 130,000-square-mile Gulf Range Complex airspace.
“The airspace surrounding Tyndall is a national treasure,” Moseley said. “The type of training conducted here integrates the DOD’s most advanced aircraft and builds a dynamic force.”
The announcement comes as USAF is expanding its F-35 squadrons at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, and Burlington Air National Guard Base, Vt., in addition to the main operating base at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The Air Force has also announced the aircraft will head to bases including RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom; Truax Field, Wisc.; and Dannelly Field, Ala.