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Monday, April 4, 2016

Burlington to Get F-35s in 2019, One Year Early

Posted By on Mon, Apr 4, 2016 at 6:08 PM

click to enlarge Air Force F-35 fighter, scheduled to replace the Vermont Air National Guard's F-16s
  • Air Force F-35 fighter, scheduled to replace the Vermont Air National Guard's F-16s
The controversial F-35 fighter jets will arrive in Burlington in 2019, one year ahead of schedule, the U.S. Air Force announced Monday.

“The Air Force is facing a shortage of experienced, active-duty fighter aircraft maintainers as we transition from legacy aircraft to the F-35A,” said Lt. Gen. John Cooper, the deputy chief of staff of the Air Force for logistics, engineering and force protection, in a statement released Monday. “Adjusting the initial plan and slightly accelerating F-35A arrivals at Burlington Air Guard Station ... to fall 2019 will allow the service to stick to the overall F-35 rollout schedule, while capitalizing on the Air National Guard’s experienced fighter aircraft maintenance force as we put additional measures in place to increase the number of trained active-duty maintainers.”

The Vermont Air National Guard, based at Burlington International Airport, was the first reserve unit in the country scheduled to receive the next-generation fighter jets, despite vocal opposition from environmentalists and local residents concerned about noise.

Local opponents have filed a lawsuit in federal court trying to prevent the F-35s from arriving in Vermont.

The Air Force has said that 18 F-35s will be based in Vermont, replacing the F-16 fighter jets currently stationed in Burlington.

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Mark Davis

Mark Davis

Mark Davis is a Seven Days staff writer.

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