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Three more F-35 squadrons assigned to Luke Air Force Base

Three more F-35 squadrons are being assigned to Luke Air Force Base. That is in addition to the three squadrons already designated for the base west of Phoenix. The fighters are scheduled to be arrive next year. The F-35 Lightnings are replacing the Air Force’s aging fleet of F-16 Falcons. They went into service in 1978.

Luke has served as the world’s largest training base for the F-16. The Air Force intends to keep training pilots on the older Falcon at Luke until 2023.

Thursday’s announcement means 144 F-35’s will be assigned to the base for pilot training. The jets are noisier than the F-16s, leading to worries in communities where the military is considering locating the aircraft.  The Air Force considered the noise issue before basing the new jets at Luke, but ultimately chose Luke because of the good flying weather and proximity to the training range.

West Valley leaders say the base generates about $2 billion in annual revenue statewide.