Lisa Murkowski

11/18/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/18/2019 19:02

Alaska Congressional Delegation Tours F-35 Plant in Texas

11.18.19

Today, U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young, all R-Alaska, alongside military and community leaders from Interior Alaska, toured Lockheed Martin's F-35 assembly plant and were shown the first F-35As that will eventually be stationed at Eielson Air Force Base beginning in the spring of 2020. During the visit, the delegation was briefed on the overall F-35 program and its capabilities, toured the production line to get a firsthand look at the U.S. Air Force's latest 5th Generation aircraft, and signed the bulkhead of an Alaska-bound F-35A currently in production. Specifically, the delegation heard about updates being made to improve the aircraft's maintenance and performance, and how it will be a game-changer in dominating the skies, providing critical advantages over America's adversaries.

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'To see the national role Eielson Air Force Base will play with the upcoming arrival of these two squadrons of F-35's has been a dream of the Alaska Congressional Delegation since I joined the Senate over sixteen years ago. Senator Sullivan, Congressman Young and I have fought hard, alongside Alaskans in the Interior-with a particular thanks to the Fairbanks Tiger Team-ensuring we utilize Alaska's geo-strategic location for the broader national security. Alaska is truly the tip of the spear for responding to threats in the Arctic Region and beyond,' said Senator Murkowski. 'This visit and tour was a tremendous opportunity for Dan, Don and I, along with Fairbanks community leaders, to view these warfighters up close and understand more about the extraordinary nature of what we are able to do and produce. Seeing the very first F-35 'Alaska One' off the production line was an exciting milestone, but I look forward to seeing it at its new home in Alaska even more.'

'Touring Lockheed Martin's F-35 factory today and seeing thousands of Americans working hard to build our nation's next great fighter aircraft instills an immense sense of patriotism,' said Senator Sullivan. 'It is equally inspiring to know that some of the aircraft we saw will soon arrive in Alaska and continue the legacy of other historic airframes in protecting our northern flank and ensuring American air dominance for decades to come. I am especially glad to share this amazing day with Lisa and Don and the countless Alaska leaders who were instrumental in bringing the F-35s to the Interior. Together, we began the process of welcoming these jets, their Air Force operators and maintainers, and their families to Alaska. I believe this is just the beginning as the strategic importance of the Arctic continues to increase. I am hopeful that other U.S. military assets, like icebreakers and the KC-46 tankers, will also call Alaska home one day soon.'

'Today, the Alaska Delegation wrapped up a very productive visit to Lockheed Martin's F-35 assembly plant in Fort Worth, Texas. What Lockheed Martin has accomplished with the F-35 is good news not only for our country's continued advancements in military technology, but for the State of Alaska, where some of the jets on display today will soon end up,' said Congressman Young. 'Alaska's unique geography and location make it an asset to our nation's national defense posture. Additionally, our state's vast airspace helps create an ideal home base for the F-35. The arrival of these jets will also provide a significant economic benefit to our state, and I look forward to welcoming the pilots and mechanics, and their families to the Great State of Alaska. In addition to Senators Murkowski and Sullivan, I would like to thank the U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin and the distinguished group of Alaskans who helped make today's trip possible. As the Arctic's importance to our national defense continues to grow, I will keep fighting to make sure Alaska helps lead the way to superiority in the sky.'

BACKGROUND:

  • The F-35A Joint Strike Fighter is a 5th Generation stealth aircraft designed to operate jointly between military services and allied countries as the quarterback of air combat. The F-35A is capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground combat, electronic warfare, and delivering nuclear weapons.
  • Announced by the U.S. Air Force in April 2016, the two squadrons of F-35As will ultimately bring 54 new aircraft and approximately 2,765 new residents to Interior Alaska. The first aircraft are scheduled to be delivered in April 2020, with a total of 54 to arrive by December 2021.
  • The two squadrons of F-35As will join the reactivated 356th Fighter Squadron, which will join the 18th Aggressor Squadron of F-16s and the 168th Air Refueling Wing currently assigned to Eielson AFB.
  • Construction activity in the Interior associated with the basing of the F-35A has been estimated at 2,339 new construction jobs and will generate $453.4 million in overall economic output from 2016 - 2020.

Related Issues: Defense