U.S. Air Force Just Deployed F-35 Stealth Fighters on Russia’s Doorstep

antitox

Well-Known Member
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/b...-35-stealth-fighters-russia’s-doorstep-147171

F-35 stealth fighters just landed in Alaska.

The F-35s’ arrival at Eielson Air Force Base in the Alaskan interior marks the beginning of a major expansion of U.S. air power just east of Russia.

The two single-engine F-35As flew directly from Lockheed Martin’s factory in Fort Worth, Texas to Eielson. An array of Alaska-based Air Force aircraft met the F-35s over the northern state, including a KC-135 tanker, three F-16s and two F-22s.

The Air Force has stood up a fighter squadron to operate the F-35s in Alaska. The re-establishment of the 356th Fighter Squadron at Eielson puts the radar-evading warplanes within reach of Russian air space.

It might not be long before F-35s join Alaska-based F-22s in intercepting Russian bombers and other warplanes that frequently probe American defenses. The F-35s also quickly could deploy in the event of a major war in the Asia-Pacific region.

The 356th Fighter Squadron flew P-51s during World War II and F-100, F-4 and A-7 fighters during the Vietnam War and the Cold War. The squadron deployed A-10 attack planes for the Gulf War in 1991 but fell victim to budget cuts in 1992.

The Air Force decided to reestablish the 356th and another squadron for F-35 operations as well as to expand the flying branch’s presence in Alaska. Squadrons in the state could be among the first to head west in the event of a major conflict with Russia or China.

The 356th is authorized 24 fighters. After its sister unit stands up, Eielson could house as many as 54 F-35s. The Air Force altogether hopes to acquire around 1,700 F-35s through the 2030s, replacing hundreds of F-16s and A-10s and helping the service to grow its force structure.

By 2022 Eielson and nearby Elmendorf Air Force Base together could host four squadrons of stealth fighters. Elmendorf’s 3rd Wing flies two squadrons with around 40 F-22 Raptors and has been on the cutting edge of tactics-development for the twin-engine jet.

In addition to four squadrons together growing to around 100 stealth fighters, Air Force and Air National Guard units in Alaska fly C-17 and C-130 airlifters, E-3 radar planes, HC-130 rescue planes and HH-60 rescue helicopters.

A squadron of F-16s at Eielson acts as an “aggressor” force, playing the enemy in war games. The base is lucky to have the F-16s. Twice since 2013 the Air Force has mulledshutting down the squadron. But preparations for high-end warfare have increased demand for aggressor services.

The Air Force expects private companies to meet most of that demand. Alaska will be one of the few states with a military-run aggressor force. Co-locating aggressors with F-35s at Eielson could help the F-35 pilots to prepare for major warfare against a high-tech enemy.

“We are strategically placed here in Alaska to prepare and project fifth-generation stealth fighter capabilities, working with our program partners and allies in the Pacific and to be ready, if called, to deploy around the world,” said Lt. Col. James Christensen, commander of the 356th Fighter Squadron.

Adding two F-35 squadrons requires a major expansion of Eielson’s facilities. Base population could double to around 4,000 personnel.
 

Tall Timbers

Imperfect but forgiven
The two F-35's arrived on Tuesday. Eielson is about a 30-40 minute drive south of Fairbanks. the small town of North Pole is between the two. Further south of Eielson is the very small community of Salcha. I was stationed at Eielson AFB for 5 years a long time ago.

Not too many years ago, Eielson AFB was slated for closure. A lot of politicking kept it open and now it is expanding. I think that's a good thing. Alaska seems to be in the middle of nowhere, but in terms of air power, Alaska is in a very strategic location. It would have been a mistake to close the base, militarily speaking.
 

FaithnHope

Loved and changed by Jesus.
The two F-35's arrived on Tuesday. Eielson is about a 30-40 minute drive south of Fairbanks. the small town of North Pole is between the two. Further south of Eielson is the very small community of Salcha. I was stationed at Eielson AFB for 5 years a long time ago.

Not too many years ago, Eielson AFB was slated for closure. A lot of politicking kept it open and now it is expanding. I think that's a good thing. Alaska seems to be in the middle of nowhere, but in terms of air power, Alaska is in a very strategic location. It would have been a mistake to close the base, militarily speaking.
I agree. Russia likes to play chicken in our air space a lot. They may think twice now.
 

antitox

Well-Known Member
The two F-35's arrived on Tuesday. Eielson is about a 30-40 minute drive south of Fairbanks. the small town of North Pole is between the two. Further south of Eielson is the very small community of Salcha. I was stationed at Eielson AFB for 5 years a long time ago.

Not too many years ago, Eielson AFB was slated for closure. A lot of politicking kept it open and now it is expanding. I think that's a good thing. Alaska seems to be in the middle of nowhere, but in terms of air power, Alaska is in a very strategic location. It would have been a mistake to close the base, militarily speaking.

Absolutely. That's why i was so happy them getting those F-35s. The Russkies are always testing our responses up there by getting to close to our airspace. BTW, I'm glad Eielson AFB was preserved up there. Back when they were closing bases to save cash, the gov shut down our very own Carswell AFB and Dallas Naval Air Station. Been mad ever since.
But I hope you get more F-35s soon to present a nice responsive curve on those airspace challenges.
 

Footsteps

Well-Known Member
I was born in the base hospital at Carswell AFB in 1948. Jimmy Stewart played an Air Force pilot (which he actually was) in a Strategic Air Command movie filmed at Carswell. SAC maintained airborne bombers for an attack on the Soviet Union around the clock. Nuclear bombs were airborne continually. We dropped one accidentally in the ocean off the coast of Spain. A Navy diver found it.
 
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