South Carolina got more good news on the aeronautics front today as Senator Lindsay Graham and Congressman John Spratt announced that Shaw Air Force Base and McEntire Joint National Guard Base have made the cut as candidates for the basing of F-35 fighter jets.
The Senator’s office reports that 205 U.S. Air Force bases were reviewed as potential candidates for the F-35 and that Shaw and McEntire are now among the eleven potential sites for receiving the first group of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).”
Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says “The F-35 will be the world’s premier strike fighter,” said Graham. “It’s designed to be more effective than existing fighters in air-to-air combat, air-to-ground combat, and reconnaissance and suppression of air defenses. The F-35 will replace the military’s F-16, A-10, AV-8B, and some F/A-18 fighter aircraft. It’s the future aircraft of the Air Force and the bases that house the F-35 will be among the most valuable in our arsenal.”
The Air Force will now conduct an environmental impact analysis and site assessment before making a final basing decision.
Fifth District Congressman John Spratt says “In the spring of 2010, the Air Force will announce its preferred locations for the F-35. Before then, Shaw will be subject to an environmental impact analysis and site assessment. I will do all that I can to help Shaw and Sumter make the best case possible before the Air Force, so that the F-35 can be delivered to Shaw beginning in 2013.”