Lemoore NAS is headquarters for the Pacific Fleet Strike Fighter Wing and has been the home base for many of the Navy's F/A-18 carrier-based jet fighter-bombers since the early 1980s. The decision was announced last week.
The air station, opened in 1961, is located in Kings County, Calif., and is one of the Navy's most modern air bases. It was designed from the ground up for jet aircraft operations. It's located in relatively isolated farm country in Central California in the midst of cotton fields and dairy farms with little potential for urban development and civilian complaints from the noise of intensive jet operations.
Navy leaders chose Lemoore NAS for an F-35C home base after weighing strategic, operational, and environmental consequences, Navy officials say. F-35C aircraft will be based at Lemoore beginning in 2016. Nearly two generations ago the first Navy F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters first appeared at Lemoore in the early 1980s to replace the A-7 Corsair II light-attack jet.
Navy leaders plan to base 100 F-35C aircraft at Lemoore NAS. These modern aircraft will be organized in seven Pacific Fleet squadrons with 10 F-35Cs each, and 30 aircraft in a fleet replacement squadron, which handles training operations for Navy aircraft. The basing plan will be finished by 2028, officials say.
The planned 100 F-35C aircraft will replace 70 aging F/A-18 Hornet aircraft. The fleet replacement squadron for the F-35C will become operational at Lemoore in about 2018, and will replace the fleet replacement squadron for the old F/A-18 C jet, which the Navy disestablished last year.
Basing the F-35C at NAS Lemoore will result in an increase of about 68,400 operations per year at the base. Pacific Fleet F-35C aircraft also will be based at El Centro Naval Air Station in southeastern California, where that base will an increase of about 800 operations per year, Navy officials say.
The F-35C from Lockheed Martin Corp. is a single-seat, single-engine, fifth-generation multirole jet fighter-bomber designed to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability.
The F-35C is the version designed to operate from aircraft carriers. The F-35A conventional takeoff and landing version is designed for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. allies, while the F-35B short-takeoff and landing version is designed for the U.S. Marine Corps.
F-35 JSF development is funded by the U.S. and its close allies, the United Kingdom, Italy, Israel, The Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, and Turkey. The aircraft is designed to replace or augment the F-16 jet fighter, A-10 close air support aircraft, F/A-18 fighter-bomber, and AV-8B jump jet.
Lockheed Martin and the company's F-35 subcontractors are building the F-35 in Fort Worth, Texas; El Segundo, Calif.; Warton, England; Orlando, Fla.; Nashua, N.H.; Baltimore; Cameri, Italy; and other locations.
For more information contact Lemoore Naval Air Station online at www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrsw/installations/nas_lemoore, or Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil.