Air Force officials, on Nov. 19, announced Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and Nellis AFB, Nevada, as candidate bases to host the 18th Aggressor Squadron and its assigned 18 F-16 Fighting Falcons.
The aggressors are currently based at Eielson AFB, which the Air Force recently announced is the preferred alternative for 48 F-35A Lightning II Conventional Takeoff and Landing Variant aircraft.
"Now that we have identified Eielson AFB as the preferred alternative for the (Pacific Air Forces) F-35s, we must determine whether Eielson AFB is still the best location for the 18th Aggressor Squadron's F-16s or if another installation would be better suited for the mission." said Timothy Bridges, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations. "We'll be sending Headquarters Air Combat Command out to the three installations to complete site surveys."
Air Combat Command will conduct detailed, on-the-ground site surveys of each candidate base. They will assess each location against operational and training requirements, potential impacts to existing missions, housing, infrastructure and manpower. Additionally, they will develop cost estimates to bed down the aircraft at each candidate base.
Once the site surveys are completed, the secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force will select preferred and reasonable alternative bases for the aggressor mission. The Air Force expects to make that announcement in early 2015 and begin the environmental impact analysis process soon thereafter.
"We look forward to the next phase when preferred and reasonable alternatives are announced and our candidate base communities have an opportunity to participate by providing input during the environmental impact analysis process," Bridges said.
The 18th AGRS stood up Aug. 24, 2007. The 18 AGRS prepares Combat Air Force, joint and allied aircrews to meet the demanding requirements of air-to-air combat through challenging, realistic threat replication, training, test support, academics and feedback.