Earlier this month it was announced that Selfridge Air Force Base is an alternate location to establish an F-35 Lightning II training center for Foreign Military Sales participants. The Air Force selected a base in Arkansas as the preferred location.

Earlier this month it was announced that Selfridge Air Force Base is an alternate location to establish an F-35 Lightning II training center for Foreign Military Sales participants. The Air Force selected a base in Arkansas as the preferred location.

File photo by Alex Szwarc


Selfridge selected as alternate location for F-35 training center

U.S. senator demands answers

By: Alex Szwarc | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published June 23, 2021

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HARRISON TOWNSHIP — A training center for new fighter jets won’t be coming to Macomb County, for now.

A June 3 Air Force press release states the Department of the Air Force selected Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Arkansas as the preferred location to establish an F-35 Lightning II training center for Foreign Military Sales participants. It will also be the new location for the 425th Fighter Squadron, a Republic of Singapore air force F-16 Fighting Falcon training unit.

“This selection also establishes Selfridge Air National Guard Base as an alternate location in the rare case the environmental impact analysis determines the preferred location unsuitable,” the release states.

The Air Force notes that the decision comes after several U.S. ally and partner nations showed interest in conducting F-35 training at a U.S.-based F-35 training facility.

“The F-35 provides next-generation stealth capabilities to the U.S. and many U.S. ally and partner nations with its aerodynamic performance, advanced integrated avionics, enhanced situational awareness and increased survivability,” it states.

In March, Republic of Singapore Air Force officials visited Selfridge to explore the viability for a student pilot training site to come to the area.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said being among the finalists for the  international training program is a testament to the importance of Macomb County’s hometown airbase at Selfridge.

“We could not be prouder of the 100-year legacy we have at the base and our emerging efforts to collaborate with base leadership and civilian advocates,” he said.

In a statement, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow said she strongly disagrees with the Air Force’s decision.

“Selfridge has the personnel, the airspace and the facilities, and was the most cost-effective choice to host these F-35 training missions,” she said. “Selfridge was already evaluated by the Air Force as a location that could support the F-35 in a previous basing.”

The senator said that, bottom line, the decision simply does not add up.

“I will be demanding answers to a number of questions as to how this decision was made by the Acting Air Force Secretary,” Stabenow said.

The Department of the Air Force anticipates making the final basing decision in spring 2023.

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