WASHINGTON, DC — Senator Richard Shelby announced Thursday that the United States Air Force selected Dannelly Field in Montgomery for the new F-35A fighter jet program.
Dannelly Field is home to the 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Gaurd. Shelby released a statement about the major announcement:
“This announcement by the Air Force is excellent news for our state and a true testament to Alabama’s work in the defense sector. The strong support of the community, along with the proximity of Dannelly Field to several other major military bases, saving both time and money, led Air Force Secretary Wilson to choose Montgomery for the new F-35A fighter jet program. I am extremely proud of the operational strength of the 187th Fighter Wing, and I look forward to seeing the success of this new undertaking.”
Governor Kay Ivey spoke at the 187th Fighter Wing for the big announcement. She tweeted Thursday:
Shelby’s office said the Air Force has been working to secure a site for Operations 5 and 6 for the F-35A fighter jet program. The Air Force already trains 90-percent of their officers at Maxwell Air Force Base in the Montgomery area.
According to Senator Shelby’s office, the F-35A will replace the aging fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons:
“The F-35A is a 5th Generation fighter jet that combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three variants of the F-35 will replace legacy fighters for the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and 10 other countries around the world. According to the Air Force, the F-35A will replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolt II’s, which have been the primary fighter aircraft for more than 20 years.”
The 187th Fighter Wing currently includes 16 fighter jets, a combat communications group, an RC-26 reconnaissance aircraft squadron, and an eagle vision unit. Colonel William Sparrow recently assumed command.