WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield will not be home to F-35A jets, the United States Air Force has announced. The base was not among the five installations named as finalists to convert to the F-35A, the Air Force’s latest stealth fighter.
The bases selected as finalists for the next two F-35 locations are:
- Dannelly Field Air Station, Montgomery, AL
- Gowen Field AGS, Boise, ID
- Jacksonville AGS Florida, Jacksonville, FL
- Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Detroit, MI
- Traux AGS, Madison, WI
Burlington AGS Station in Vermont has already been chosen to host F-35A jets.
Barnes will continue to be home to the 104th Fighter Wing’s F-15C/D jets, which are responsible for responding to airborne threats over the northeastern United States. Those jets are currently being upgraded, and Col. James Keefe of the 104th says that they will continue to be an important part of our homeland defense.
“The upgrades will carry us into the future to continue to exceed air superiority needs for America’s Air Power,” said Keefe. “As the Air Force continues to review future force structure, we expect the F-15C to play a critical role in the defense of our nation for the foreseeable future, especially when it comes to defending the homeland in its current 24/7 alert mission.”
According to a news release sent to 22News by SMSgt Julie Avey of the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes could still potentially be selected in future rounds of conversions.