It’s Official: F-35s landing at Eglin AFB

Posted on by admin_fletcher

This is what we’ve been waiting for! Great news for Niceville, Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Valparaiso,  Mary Esther …and all the way east to Freeport. 

Daily News

EGLIN AFB – The Air Force will bring 59 F-35s to the base by 2016, but makes no promises to bring the additional 54 aircraft originally slated.

In a news conference at Eglin Air Force Base Friday morning, Kathleen Ferguson, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, said the Air Force will proceed with plans to bring the Initial Joint Strike Fighter Training School to Eglin, but with a few limitations.

The Emerald Coast will see more jobs and revenue from the Joint Strike Fighter mission. If the F-35 school gets the 113 aircraft originally planned, local schools stand to gain $10.6 million. The community can expect a 2-percent increase in employment, said Ferguson. With 113 aircraft, the mission is expected to create 2,326 direct jobs and an additional 1,322 induced positions. “It is absolutely the best we could’ve hoped for at this point,” said Breitenfeld, who also is a Base Realignment and Closure consultant for the Okaloosa-Walton Workforce Development Board. “It’s going to have a tremendous impact in terms of construction employment in the next three years.”

Ferguson said the interim Record of Decision was signed to move the project forward. The Air Force started awarding contracts Thursday for nine construction projects worth $170 million. Military construction is expected to bring nearly $700 million to the area. Okaloosa County officials predict about 2,500 BRAC-related construction vehicles per day will hit the roads through 2011. “We’re hopeful we can get a large percentage of the subcontracts to locals, which will clearly help the local economy,” said Breitenfeld. “In a lot of ways, it’s the Northwest Florida stimulus package.”

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