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Selfridge not chosen as Air Force base to host F-35 & F-16 missions

F35A Fighter Squadron Alabama
Posted at 10:18 AM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-04 10:18:08-04

(WSYM) — The U.S. Air Force has passed over Selfridge Air National Guard base as the location for an F-35 Lightning II training center for foreign military sales participants.

According to the Air Force, Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith, Arknasas was chosen. The location will also be the new home for the 425th Fighter Squadron, which is an F-16 Fighting Falcon training unit for the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

According to the Air Force, the new training center will be able to hold up to 36 fighter jets.

"The F-35 program is a multi-service, multi-national effort that dramatically increases interoperability between the U.S. and other F-35 partner nations,” Acting Secretary of the Air Force John P. Roth said in a release. “We are fully committed to the F-35 as the cornerstone of the U.S. Air Force’s fighter fleet and look forward to building stronger relationships with nations who want to work by our side.”

Selfridge had previously been passed over by the Air Force in April 2020 to be a base for the F-35 A Lightning II.

According to the Air Force, Selfridge will be an alternate location if an environmental impact analysis finds Ebbing is not suitable, but the Air Force said it would be "rare."

Sen. Gary Peters, who has been among many Michigan officials pushing for the base to be chosen, released a statement upset with the decision.

“There are many important, unanswered questions about how and why the Air Force made this decision. I have repeatedly pressed for a decision based on fairness and merits, and I’m demanding answers and full transparency from the Air Force and Biden Administration about why Selfridge Air National Guard Base was not chosen. There is no question that Selfridge stood out as the clear choice to host a new training mission because of its facilities, capabilities and assets for our national security, and I question the conclusion that the Air Force reached," Peters said in the statement.

He also called on the Air Force to explain the factors that went into the decision.