By David Wichner for Arizona Daily Star
Tucson stands to gain up to 48 F-16 fighter jets in the next couple of years as the Air Force makes room for the next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
On Thursday, the Air Force released a list of 34 bases around the country that could be assigned F-16 training units relocated from Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix and from Hill Air Force Base in Utah, to make room for new F-35 fighters and to address pilot shortages.
Both Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the 162nd Wing of the Arizona National Guard, based at Tucson International Airport, are among the potential new sites.
The 162nd Wing — the Air Guard’s biggest fighter wing and the primary site for training of foreign F-16 pilots — also is on a list of four bases that could get more F-16s by the fall of 2017, under an interim plan to quickly address the shortage of pilots.
Both decisions are expected to be made by spring of 2017.
The others on that list are Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, which is transitioning from F-16 to F-35 training; Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico; and Joint Base San Antonio’s Kelly Air Guard Station, Texas.
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