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New F35 Fighter Mission for Homestead? EIS Hearing April 17

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Posted: Friday, April 6, 2018 12:15 am

   The Homestead Air Reserve Base (HARB) is a contender for Air Force assignment of a new F35 fighter squadron.

   Public input is invited at the April 17 Air Force meeting in the Dickinson Community Center for an environmental impact statement (EIS) on a new base mission.

   The EIS is required to scope important issues if the mission changes at the Homestead Air Reserve Base (HARB). Public comments are due by May 11, 2018.

   Homestead’s Base is an identified “reasonable alternative” for twenty-four F35A Lightning II all-weather stealth fighters, plus 2 backup aircraft. The Strategic Basing Process selected the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Forth Worth, Texas as the preferred alternative.

   The new F35 fighter is a fifth-generation U.S. aircraft designed for ground attack. It was declared combat-ready August 2, 2016. Produced by Lockheed Martin, the airplane’s research and development cost $55 billion. Its procurement was estimated at $319.1 billion. As of last year, 231 planes have been produced according to industry literature.

   The question is where to station this new weapon. Bases in Arizona and Missouri were listed with Homestead as reasonable alternatives to the

preferred Texas base.

   Any mission change would include new facilities for aircraft infrastructure as well as likely increases in personnel.

   HARB’s current mission includes training for twenty-four F16 fighters, first deployed in 1978 at a cost of about $14.6 million each. These planes would be replaced by the F35As. The “A” designation for the F35 stands for conventional takeoff and landing, as contrasted with “B” – short takeoff and vertical landing – and “C”  carrier-based catapult assisted takeoff.

   The scheduled hearing on April 17 is open-ended from 5 pm to 8 pm

without a formal presentation. Some information is available on the project’s website at . The official contact is Mr. Hamid Kamalpour at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

   The Air Force is conducting an EIS for all four proposed F35 bases, including No Action Alternatives.

   “Scoping” as advertised in the Federal Register for rulemaking is to

consider what important issues the EIS should include if the F34

mission is implemented. The EIS typically focuses on the impact of noise, lights, ground run-off, and accidents when assessing situations at the base.

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