Montgomery “Red Tails” Land the F-35!
Alabama’s Dannelly Field based 187th Fighter Wing Selected by the Air Force to receive the F-35 Fighter Jet
MONTGOMERY - Following a nearly two-year process, site surveys and a full strategic basing process, the Air Force announced Thursday it selected Dannelly Field and Truax AGS to serve as the next strategic locations for the F-35A and to support the Air Force’s worldwide placement of fighter jets.
The receipt of the F-35 ensures the stability of the 187th Fighter Wing’s mission, as well as the future of the Alabama Air National Guard, for decades to come. Montgomery’s technology strategy works in lock step with the Air Force to leverage the future of cyber power by providing cutting edge technological resources. Today’s news is only complementary to this effort and Montgomery couldn’t be better positioned to support the Air Force’s next generation fighter. The Air Force has stated that aircraft should begin to arrive during the summer of 2023.
The impact this decision will have on our community is significant. The 187th Fighter Wing consists of over 1400 individuals and boasted an annual economic impact of more than $80 million annually over the last five years. It’s anticipated that the economic impact will increase to over $100 million annually upon receipt of the F-35.
“We congratulate the men and women of the 187th Fighter Wing whose tenacity, vigilance and expertise have been rewarded with this huge vote of confidence from our national defense leadership,” Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said. “The reason Montgomery is known as the best hometown in the Air Force stems from the exceptional and enduring relationship with Air Force leaders and our many military partners. Thanks to the efforts of Senator Shelby, Congresswomen Sewell and Roby – whose districts include Maxwell and the 187th, Governor Kay Ivey, along with support from our state’s entire congressional delegation, this longstanding partnership has been further cemented with today’s game-changing announcement.”
“Our community is made stronger by the men and women of the 187th, and by the way government, business and the community partner together to support the military and other initiatives that matter so much to our safety and our success in Montgomery,” said County Commission Chairman Elton Dean.
Montgomery’s F35 Committee Co-Chair Leslie Sanders remarked on the meaning of this announcement: “The opportunity for the F-35 to bed down in Montgomery is historically and economically significant. The legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen will live on through the F-35 and we will all appreciate the jobs and economic opportunities created.”
Other bases the Air Force considered to support the F-35 mission included Gowen Field AGS - Boise, Idaho, Jacksonville AGS Florida and Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Detroit.
The F-35 is the most technologically advanced aircraft in the Department of Defense inventory. Being selected to receive the F-35 mission was made possible due to an unprecedented community effort, including a partnership between military leadership, local, state and national elected leaders, and numerous individuals and business throughout Montgomery and the greater River Region community.