Before a final decision is made by the Air Force, several key steps are required, such as a facility validation inspection and an Environmental Impact Study, which will include a public comment period.
“Gowen Field being considered for the F-35 is a true testament to the Airmen of the Idaho Air National Guard and the high performance standards of our world class organization,” said Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter. “Gowen Field has been home to nine different types of fighter aircraft over the past 70 years. We expect the longstanding tradition and culture of flying fighter aircraft to continue.”
The entire decision process could take up to two years. If selected, the Idaho National Guard may not see the aircraft arrive at Gowen Field until the 2021/2022 timeframe. However, there are many factors that make determining a precise timeline difficult.
“Now that considerations are narrowed to these five locations, we anticipate an Air Force validation team in the coming months to come assess and validate that our facilities can accommodate the aircraft,” said Maj. Chris Borders, Idaho National Guard spokesperson. “And the Environmental Impact Study is very in-depth, collecting and analyzing data, to include public opinion that will be gathered during town hall meetings, which will be incorporated into the decision-making process.”
The F-35 is the premiere fighter aircraft of the U.S. Air Force and has been identified to perform a number of roles, to include close air support- a primary function of the A-10.