Virginia’s congressional delegation wants Air Force’s F-22 Squadron in Hampton Roads

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. — In a bipartisan push from the entire congressional representation of Virginia, the Commonwealth’s leaders have let the Air Force know it would like its F-22 Flight and Maintenance Formal Training Units (FTU) to relocate to Joint Base Langley-Eustis.

In a statement from Sen. Mark Warner’s office, the senator’s office says that Virginia congressional members are urging a relocation because of the “existing ramp space and infrastructure at Langley that would allow it to quickly receive aircraft at minimal additional cost, a decision to move the F-22 FTU to Langley would leverage a number of key benefits that Langley and the surrounding areas have.”

“The Hampton Roads area has a long history of supporting our nation’s military and their families, and would provide strong recruiting and retention ability,” added the statement.  “Virginia Air National Guard stands uniquely positioned to support the FTU, with experienced instructors and maintainers well versed on the platform. “We ask that you give full consideration to Joint Base Langley-Eustis as a host to this mission.”

The initiative led by the Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine is highlighting the move as something that would advance an important recommendation put forward by the Government Accountability Office, which has emphasized the need for improving aircraft availability by consolidating the fleet into larger squadrons or wings.

The letter signed by each Virginia congressional member was sent to U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.

Originally located at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Michael in October of 2018, the squadron is being temporarily held at Eglin Air Force Base, awaiting a decision by Secretary Wilson as to where it will be housed permanently, according to the statement by Warner’s office.

In all, the letter was signed by — in addition to Sens. Warner and Kaine — Reps. Bobby Scott, Robert Wittman, Gerry Connolly, Morgan Griffith, Don Beyer, A. Donald McEachin, Ben Cline, Elaine Luria, Abigail Spanberger, Denver Riggleman, and Jennifer Wexton.

For more on the statement, click here. 

Below is the full statement from Virginia’s congressional leadership: 

The Honorable Heather Wilson

Secretary of the Air Force

1670 Air Force Pentagon

 

Washington, D.C. 20330-1670

Dear Secretary Wilson:

In December 2018, you announced that the Air Force would conduct a Strategic Basing Process to determine the new location for the F-22 Flight and Maintenance Formal Training Units (FTU). As the Air Force looks to move this mission from Tyndall AFB, and its temporary location at Eglin AFB, we write to express our strong support for moving the mission to Joint Base Langley-Eustis.

While Joint Base Langley-Eustis currently has two F-22 squadrons, as well as supporting maintenance units, it was built for the beddown of three squadrons, thereby underutilizing the airspace and Air Force investment in ramp, hangar, and operations support facilities. The east coast mid-Atlantic training ranges provide an excellent opportunity to train with other 4th and 5th generation aircraft in the region. Moving the F-22 FTU to Langley would advance one of the recommendations put forward by the Government Accountability Office regarding F-22 organization: the need for “consolidating the fleet into larger squadrons and/or wings in order to improve aircraft availability.”

Beyond the existing ramp space and infrastructure at Langley that would allow it to quickly receive aircraft at minimal additional cost, a decision to move the F-22 FTU to Langley would leverage a number of key benefits that Langley and the surrounding areas have. The Hampton Roads area has a long history of supporting our nation’s military and their families, and would provide strong recruiting and retention ability. Additionally, the Virginia Air National Guard stands uniquely positioned to support the FTU, with experienced instructors and maintainers well versed on the platform.

We ask that you give full consideration to Joint Base Langley-Eustis as a host to this mission. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for any additional information.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

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