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Navy To Base F-35Cs at NAS Lemoore

U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the Dust Devils of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 31 at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif., conducts an interoperability test event with a Navy F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft over the Edwards Air Force Base on Aug. 28, 2014. US Navy Photo

U.S. Navy EA-18G Growler at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif., conducts an interoperability test event with a Navy F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft over the Edwards Air Force Base on Aug. 28, 2014. US Navy Photo

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post misidentified the EA-18G Growler in the caption of the photo as a F/A-18F Super Hornet due to incorrect caption information in the provided image. USNI News regrets the error.

The Navy decided it will base 100 Lockheed Martin F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. by 2028 following the conclusion of an extensive environmental analysis, the service announced on Thursday.

Seven F-35C squadrons of 10 aircraft and a Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) of 30 aircraft will begin to be based at Lemoore starting in 2016, according to the statement.

Lemoore and Naval Air Facility El Centro, Calif. were both under consideration for the location of the squadrons but Lenmoore — already home to 70 older Boeing F/A-18 Hornets which the F-35s will replace — was the ultimate choice.

Lemoore had fewer environmental effects and was a more cost effective option, according to the Navy’s environmental assessment.

The Navy removed a 30 plane Hornet FRS in 2013.

“When the FRS for the F-35C is operational (in about 2018), the number of aircraft based at NAS Lemoore will be similar to 2013 levels,” read the statement.

Currently NAS Lemoore employs about 7,900 and the inclusion of the 100 JSFs will increase uniform personnel at the base by about 500 to 600, according to a May report in The Fresno Bee.

Categories: Aviation, Budget Industry, News & Analysis, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute.
He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. In his role he covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Sam is a 2003 graduate of Virginia Military Institute.