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F-35 Landing at Luke, Goodyear Ready to Support Mission
Weeks have passed since the U.S. Air Force announced it would designate Luke Air Force Base as a pilot-training site for the new F-35 fighter jet mission, but the news is anything but old. In fact, the excitement over the decision and its impact is just taking off.
In case you missed it, the Air Force announced on Aug. 1 that it would assign 72 high-tech stealth F-35 fighter jets to Luke, where pilots will train to fly them and where hundreds of people will work to support them.
The move is expected to create 1,000 direct and indirect jobs in and around Luke, and result in about $17 million annually in local, state and federal tax revenues.
Goodyear city officials joined voices across the West Valley in praising the long-awaited decision, but remained focused on positioning the city to attract the jobs and businesses that will follow the jets to Luke.
Mayor Georgia Lord said she believes the City is ready to compete for the new work.
“We have the heritage, the housing, the infrastructure and a growing cluster of defense-related industries at our airport to make the most of the F-35’s move to the desert,” she said.
Goodyear has been doing work with the military for nearly 100 years, she added, noting the businesses and industries that will come in support of the futuristic fighter jet would be a great fit for work already going on around the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport.
“We grew the cotton used to make rubber tires for World War I aircraft and hosted a Naval Air Station in World War II. We support Luke Air Force Base, our home to generations of active and retired military men and women, and have a growing base of defense industries working around our airport,” Lord added.
Lockheed Martin, the designer and manufacturer of this cutting-edge fighter jet, employs more than 1,000 people in Goodyear. City economic development officials are currently working with key defense contractors who supply services and parts for the F-35 to recruit high-wage earning jobs to Goodyear in the future.
Lord pointed out the Pentagon’s requirement that parts and service operations must be no more than 250 miles away from any Joint Strike Force Operation.
“From a logistics stand point this means that a distribution and parts warehouse for every component of this aircraft has to be able to ship its part or parts to Luke Air Force Base within 24 hours of initial order no exceptions,” she said. “I like our chances.”
The first jets could arrive at Luke as soon as next fall, according to published reports.
F-35 Comes to Luke Air Force Base