Air Force Announces Tucson Bases Being Considered for F-16 Missions
TUCSON – U.S. Representative Martha McSally today released the following statement in response to the Air Force’s announcement that up to 48 F-16 fighter aircraft could be moved to Tucson. The Air Force today released a list of 34 bases around the country that could be assigned F-16 training units relocated from Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and Hill Air Force Base in Utah in order to make room for the installment of new F-35 fighter aircraft and address pilot shortages. Both Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (DM) and the 162nd Wing of the Arizona National Guard housed at Tucson International Airport were among the list of potential new sites.
“This announcement recognizes Southern Arizona’s unparalleled assets for training air-to-ground aircraft, which I’ve worked relentlessly in Congress to highlight,” said Rep. McSally. “With thousands of square miles of high and low altitude military airspace, over 300 days of sunshine a year, and close access to the Barry M. Goldwater training ranges, there’s no better place in the country to train pilots for these missions. During my multiple assignments at DM to fly and later lead a squadron of A-10s, I experienced the value of our military treasures first-hand, and I’ll continue to fight for them as the Air Force considers this decision.”
The Air Force today released bases considered as long-term and near-term replacements for F-16s. The list of long-term replacements included 34 total sites, including DM and the 162nd Fighter Wing housed at the Tucson Airport. For potential near-term replacements, the Air Force released a list of four potential bases that currently house F-16s, including the 162nd Fighter Wing. Both decisions are expected to be made by spring of 2017.
Today’s announcement follows recent news of possible additional missions coming to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. In April, the Air Force named DM a finalist along with four other bases to permanently house F-35 Lighting II fighter aircraft. In December 2015, the Air Force also announced DM as a potential site for expanded remotely piloted aircraft missions.