Luke AFB lands F-35 pilot training center
The Air Force announced today that it has chosen Luke Air Force Base for the new pilot training center for the F-35 fighter jets. KJZZ's Al Macias reports.
AL MACIAS: The Air Force will station 72 of the new fighters at Luke. The base is located in Glendale. U.S. and foreign pilots will train at the base. Air Force officials said Luke was chosen because of facility and ramp capacity, access to practice ranges, weather, as well as the base's capacity for future growth. Arizona leaders had lobbied for the F-35s as the Air Force phases out the F-16s now being flown. The F-35 is also known as the Joint Strike Fighter with variations for the Air Force, Navy and Marines. Local officials says the base could receive up to $125 million for construction projects. The new fighters could begin arriving in the fall of 2013. The exact timing could be affected by federal budget negotiations and their impact on the F-35 program.