FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2020
Ft. Smith Airport Potential Host of Singapore Air Force, F-35 Aircraft
Washington, D.C. — Ft. Smith Airport has been selected as one of five possible sites to host F-35 planes as well as the Republic of Singapore’s F-16 squadron. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) has long advocated for Ft. Smith’s inclusion in this important economic development and national security initiative, and other Arkansas officials have pledged their support of the city and state’s efforts to compete for the mission.
On July 6, 2020, Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett signed a memorandum to establish a permanent Foreign Military Sales training center at a single location in the continental United States for 24 to 36 F-35 long term Foreign Military Sales aircraft and for Republic of Singapore Air Force F-16 basing. The Republic of Singapore Air Force is an F-35 Foreign Military Sales customer and wishes to collocate its current F-16 squadron—now at Luke Air Force Base—with its F-35 aircraft to a long-term Foreign Military Sales location.
Fort Smith Airport, Hulman Field, Buckley Air Force Base, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, and Selfridge Air National Guard Base are the final candidates for the collocation.
“Ft. Smith is a strong candidate for Singapore’s F-16 squadron and future F-35 aircraft. The United States deeply values our relationship with Singapore, and I appreciate Secretary Barrett’s consideration of Arkansas as a location for our important defense partnership. I look forward to working with the Air Force and the state of Arkansas to ensure that Ft. Smith is a welcome location for this vital new national security mission,” said Senator Cotton.
“I was elated to learn that Ebbing Air National Guard Base is a finalist to become home to this important training facility. The state is a serious contender because Senator Cotton and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission launched a serious and sophisticated campaign to persuade the selection committee that Fort Smith is the right place. If Arkansas is selected, this will be a significant victory for Fort Smith and all of Arkansas,” said Governor Hutchinson.
“Fort Smith would be an ideal location to host this mission and we appreciate that Secretary Barrett continues to keep it in the running as the Air Force narrows its list of sites under consideration. The reason Fort Smith has made it to this pivotal point in the process is due, in a large part, to the community’s enthusiastic support and tireless efforts. I am committed to continuing to work with state and local officials, as well as my colleagues in the delegation, to get this effort across the finish line,” said Senator Boozman.
“Fort Smith has everything the Air Force needs for this training center. With our strategic location and strong community, we are primed to support our allies and the next generation of air combat capabilities. I look forward to working with Secretary Barrett and my fellow Arkansans as the vetting process continues. The River Valley is ready to take on this critical defense mission,” said Congressman Womack.
Original article source: http://www.cotton.senate.gov?p=press_release&id=1399 | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council