Mayor Michele Kern of the community of El Mirage next to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona complained during an Arizona Republic editorial board last week that the community she represents does not want Luke to close, but the community has suffered disproportionately in the fight to preserve the base from encroaching development. The community last week hosted a meeting to discuss its opposition to basing the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Luke, a position that has put it at odds with the state’s Congressional delegation and the governor and other communities. El Mirage has looked at the legal action taken by Valpariso, Fla., to fight the F-35 schoolhouse going in at Eglin AFB, Fla., and has asked the Air Force to bring one of the new fighters to Luke for noise tests rather than using modeling to inform an environmental assessment. (Arizona Republic report)
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.