WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield may soon be home to a new fleet of fighter jets. The base is being considered as the future site for the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter force.
The Air Force is looking to see if the base has adequate capacity and can carry out the mission requirements. Weather, airspace, training range availability, sufficient hanger and ramp space, facility considerations, environmental requirements, and cost will all be factored into their decision.
“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.
If Barnes is chosen, it will receive its first aircraft in the summer of 2022. The Air Force plans to identify candidate locations within the next few months.