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MediaAdvisory: AIR FORCE OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE AS A CANDIDATE BASE FOR THE F-35A

Release Number: 011609

Media Advisory
Release No. 16-09
Contact:
Master Sgt. Julie Avey, Public Affairs Specialist
Lt. Col. Brenda Hendricksen, Public Affairs Officer
413-568-9151 ext. 698-1299 or ext. 698-1800
Cell: (619) 665-4252
usaf.ma.104-fw.list.pa@mail.mil


June 22, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AIR FORCE OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE AS A CANDIDATE BASE FOR THE F-35A

(6/22/2016) - Barnes Air National Guard Base, Westfield, Mass. - Air Force officials recently announced that Barnes Air National Guard Base, is one of the bases being considered for the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter future bed down.
The Air Force released basing criteria for  the Operations Bases 5 & 6 of the F-35 that will be used to select Air National Guard Squadrons which if chosen will receive their first aircraft in the summer of 2022. The Air Force plans to identify candidate installations for the Air National Guard locations this summer.
"The Air Force is committed to a deliberate and open process to address F-35 basing," said Jennifer A. Miller, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations. "As we progress through the basing process, we will share information so interested communities are aware of what to expect."
The basing criteria for the Air National Guard bases include mission requirements (weather, airspace and training range availability), capacity (sufficient hanger and ramp space, and facility considerations), environmental requirements, and cost factors.
The Air Force will evaluate Guard installations with runways of at least 8,000 feet and units with operational A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, F-16 Fighting Falcons or F-15 Eagles against the approved criteria to identify candidate bases for the new F-35A.


The Air Combat Command and Air National Guard will soon conduct site surveys at each location. Site survey teams will assess operational requirements, potential impacts to existing missions, infrastructure and manpower, and then develop cost estimates to bed down the F-35A.
"The 104th Fighter Wing has over 68 years in fighters and proudly claims its legacy as the oldest flying unit in Massachusetts. We are excited to be on the list for the 5th generation fighter like the F-35A or for a future generation fighter. We have the experience to excel at these future missions, as we have with the F-15 Eagle and provide combat air power to our nation for years to come," said Col. James Keefe, Commander of the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base. 
"Our 104th Fighter Wing Airmen work hard every day meeting the 24/7 Aerospace Control Alert (ACA) mission and many are currently deployed as part of OPERATION ATLANTIC RESOLVE in Europe." said Col. James Keefe "I am proud of our Barnestormers and proud to be on the team with each and every one of them serving."
Tasked to provide operationally ready combat units, combat support units and qualified personnel for active duty, the 104th FW is currently deployed as a total force partner with over 250 personnel and 12 F-15s as part of a Theater Security Package in support of multiple NATO objectives.
The 104th Fighter Wing has recently been named the "Air Control Alert Unit of the Year" by the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region - 1st Air Force (CONR-1AF/AFNORTH).  A component of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the Continental U.S. NORAD Region (CONR) provides airspace surveillance and control and directs aerospace control activities for the continental United States (CONUS).

The ACA mission is to protect Northeastern United States with 24/7 alert teams, ready to launch at a moment's notice, providing armed fighters from any airborne threat. The unit is responsible for protecting a quarter of the nation's population and one third of the Gross Domestic Product
For more information and/or interviews, please contact Master Sgt. Julie Avey at usaf.ma.104-fw.list.pa@mail.mil or (413) 568-9151, x698-1299.
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Specification of the F-35A can be found at:
http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets/Display/tabid/224/Article/478441/f-35a-lightning-ii-conventional-takeoff-and-landing-variant.aspx