Luke to Receive 72 Additional F-35As

The Air Force has selected Luke AFB, Ariz., to receive 72 additional F-35A strike fighters, bringing the base’s eventual total to 144, according to a June 27 release. “This is great news for Luke AFB and the West Valley community,” said Brig. Gen. Mike Rothstein, commander of the 56th Fighter Wing. “The decision to base additional F-35 fighters here ensures the long-term viability of our mission and continues our legacy of training the world’s greatest fighter pilots.” The fifth-generation aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, are slated to begin arriving at Luke in the spring of 2014. The base already has undergone $10 million worth of construction projects—out of an anticipated $57 million—to accommodate the additional fighters, states the release. The Air Force chose Luke as the home for the F-35A pilot training center in 2012 saying it based t he decision on the base’s facilities, ramp capacity, range access, weather, and capacity for future growth. Luke also will serve as the F-35A international pilot training site, states the release.