It is too soon to tell if the city of Valparaiso’s attempts to halt F-35 basing at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida will affect training plans for the Joint Strike Fighter, Gen. Stephen Lorenz said Feb. 27. Under BRAC 2005, Eglin would host a joint and international F-35 training center. But noise concerns meant plans to deploy 113 training aircraft to Eglin were scaled back to just 59 initially until the Air Force could complete a satisfactory supplemental environmental assessment. However, last week the Valparaiso city council voted to sue the Air Force to halt the initial deployment. Lorenz, head of Air Education and Training Command, said in an interview that this is a “very fluid and dynamic situation,” with so many variables that it would be foolish to speculate on how it might affect AETC’s training plans.
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.