The Air Force plans to replace the Air National Guard’s aging F-15C Eagles in Florida and Oregon with the service’s newest air superiority aircraft.
Jacksonville Air National Guard Base, Florida, will begin receiving F-35 Lightning IIs in 2024; Kingsley Field, Oregon, will host the Air Force’s first F-15EX formal training mission beginning in 2022; and the unit at Portland Air National Guard Base will become the first operational F-15EX squadron in 2023.
The Air Force’s F-15Cs are aging and expected to run out of service life by the mid-2020s.
The Air Force also plans to replace the remaining Air National Guard operational F-15C/D bases (Barnes Airport, Massachusetts, Fresno Yosemite Airport, California, and Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans) with either F-35As or F-15EXs. Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, is also being considered for F-35As.
“The Air National Guard has consistently stepped up to meet the challenges of countless national contingencies over recent years,” said Lt. Gen. Mike Loh, Air National Guard director. “Transitioning to these new weapon systems will maintain our effectiveness as a member of the Total Air Force into the future.”
The Air Force will now conduct on-the-ground site surveys at each of these locations to assess operational requirements, potential impacts to existing missions, infrastructure and manpower, and costs before deciding which aircraft will replace the F-15C mission. The Air Force will complete the required Environmental Impact Analysis Process before making a final decision.
Currently, four active duty operational locations — Hill Air Force Base, Utah; RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom; Eielson AFB, Alaska; and Tyndall AFB, Florida — have been identified to host the F-35A. Additionally, three Air National Guard locations — Burlington ANGB, Vermont; Dannelly Field, Alabama; and Truax Field, Wisconsin; and one Air Force Reserve location – Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas — have been identified as F-35 locations.