The first two of 54 F-35 fighter jets coming to Eielson Air Force Base are expected to land at the Interior installation this afternoon, Tuesday, April 21. The landing, which will be preceded by flyover of the area, marks the culmination of a decade-plus-long effort to bring the 5th generation fighters to Eielson.
Alaska US Senator Dan Sullivan says Interior residents should be proud of the milestone.
"15 years ago, this was not looking like the future at all. We were looking at a BRAC, and to shut down the base. But through the hard work of so many people, particularly in the Interior, through their devotion and never-say-die attitude, got us to this day.”:20
Eielson is the first Pacific Air Force base to house the F-35, and Sullivan says when the 2 full squadrons are here, Alaska will have unique air power status and capability in the world.
"Now Alaska, with the F35s coming, and the F22s down at JBER, we'll have over 100 5th-generation fighters. No place on planet earth will have more 5th-gen fighter power than our state.”
Two F-35 squadrons are being stationed at Eielson, a force that will include 1,300 airmen, and bring a total of 3,300 people to the area by 2022.
Over $500,000,000 hundred million dollars in new construction was funded by Congress to prepare the Interior base to accommodate the new fighters and personnel. This afternoon’s F-35 landing, which is expected to be in the 2:00 to 3:00 PM timeframe, will be webcast.