Saturday, July 31, 2010

Week in review (7/25 to 7/31)

The Air Force made final during the week what a lot of people were expecting.

The 59 F-35 jets that will be going to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., for the joint strike fighter training center won't be going up to 107 after all. The announcement was made Thursday that the number will stay put.

The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission established the F-35 Initial Joint Training Center at Eglin, with the expectation of 107 planes. The number was set at 59 last year, but expectation were that Eglin could get 48 more.

The smart money was that the base probably wouldn't get the additional jets because of concerns that were voiced by some people that the planes are too noisy. But nothing was said about the noise issue in the announcement.

At a session with the press, Maj. Gen. C.R. Davis, commander of Eglin's Air Armament Center, said the additional aircraft would have interfered with other air missions at the base.

A day after that announcement, the Air Force said it chose Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., to get F-35s to use for training. It also announced that Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and Burlington Air Guard Station, Vt., will get operations F-35s.

Bases that had been in the running for the training jets, in addition to Eglin, were Boise AGS, Idaho, Hollman Air Force Base, N.M, and Tucson Air Guard Station, Ariz. Other bases seeking the operations aircraft were Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Shaw Air Force Base/McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., and Jacksonville Air Guard Station, Fla.

Even with that announcement, Northwest Florida is still winding up with more fighters.

Tyndall Air Force Base, in Panama City, Fla., will be getting an additional squadron of F-22 Raptors being relocated from Hollman Air Force Base, N.M. Another squadron of F-22s from Hollman is being distributed among three other bases.

The announcement was made by the Air Force Thursday as part of a consolidation plan for the F-22 fleet. Tyndall is getting 21 aircraft, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, will get six, Langley Air Force Base, Va., will get six, and Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., will get two of the F-22s.

In another base-related matter, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., Brig. Gen. Andrew Mueller on Monday will assume command of the 81st Training Wing from Brig. Gen. Ian Dickinson. It will be at the parade field. Mueller comes to Keesler from Eskisehir, Turkey, where he served as the deputy commander for NATO's Combined Air Operations Center 6, Allied Air Forces Southern Europe. Dickinson will be Director, Communications and Information, and Chief Information Officer, Headquarters Air Force Space Command, Peterson AFB, Colo.

Anderson Drace, JV, Gulfport, Miss., was awarded a $14.3 million firm-fixed-price contract which provides for the design and construction of a bachelor enlisted quarters for the Corry "A" School students training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. The work to be performed provides 80 2-plus-2 modules for 320 Corry "A" School students training at the Center for Information Dominance. Work will be performed in Pensacola and is expected to be completed by August 2012.

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