Today, U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, and U.S. Representative Rob Bishop applauded the U.S. Air Force's official announcement that Hill Air Force Base will be the first operational squadron of the F-35 stealth fighter starting in 2015. The Air Force issued its final record of decision this morning at the conclusion of a 30-day waiting period that followed the completion of the Environmental Impact Statement. The decision signals the continuation of the enduring partnership between the Air Force and the state of Utah that has mutually benefited U.S. National Security and the Utah community for decades.
"Today's announcement is the final step before the first operational squadron of the U.S. Air Force's next generation of aircraft comes to Utah," Hatch said. "The review process for the delivery of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was extensive, and the world class facilities and wonderful personnel at Hill Air Force and throughout our state make this the right choice for our state and our country. I've been proud to stand with the Utah congressional delegation and state leaders to continue pushing for this opportunity for Utah and our country, and I look forward to seeing the F-35 at Hill soon."
"The Air Force's final record of decision is a clear vote of confidence in the future of Hill Air Force Base. The F-35 has been referred to as the "backbone of U.S. air combat for the next generation' and today's announcement confirms that Hill Air Force Base, the Ogden Air Logistics Center, and the Utah Test and Training Range remain the preeminent training grounds for air combat technologies. The unique capabilities of the support systems at Hill AFB, comprised of active duty and reserve military personnel as well as civilian defense workers, are second to none. This decision is very good news for Utah and I look forward to the arrival of the new squadrons," said Congressman Bishop, a senior Member of the House Armed Services Committee.
"I am pleased to hear the announcement by the Air Force today to base the first operational squadrons of the F-35A in Utah," said Sen. Lee, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Given the outstanding facilities at Hill AFB, the proximity to the Ogden Air Logistics Complex and the Utah Test and Training Range, and the incredible support that the Air Force enjoys from the Northern Utah community, this decision is a logical choice. The Air Force has a unique relationship with the state of Utah that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the country, and I am excited to see that this relationship will continue to grow well into the future."