USAF spending $500m to prep Alaskan base for F-35

An F-35A takes off from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, March 14, 2014. After getting upgrades, the F-35A is on its way back to Nellis AFB, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua D. King/ RELEASED)

The United States Air Force is setting aside half a billion dollars in installation tweaks at Eielson Air Force Base over the next half decade to make room for two new squadrons of the controversial F-35 Lightning II.

According to NewsMiner, the 46 new additions or changes will include hangars, munitions igloos and recreational facilities such as a larger Exchange or possibly a craft brewery.

“Regardless of whether it ends up being a brewery or something else, with the additional population here, we’re going to be looking to bring other quality-of-life initiatives down here,” he said.

354th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Mike Winkler says that about $37 million in construction on a six-bay simulator building is planned for this year, with over $296 million in projects planned for 2017.

The Air Force does not expect the construction to interfere much with traffic along the west end of the base.

“We’re working closely with the Department of Transportation to make sure we’ve got a safe way to re-orchestrate that traffic so we’re not causing backups back there,” Winkler said.

Fifty-four F-35s will arrive at their new home sometime around 2020.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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