WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Congressman Neal Dunn urged Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan to consider resuming F-22 training temporarily at Tyndall Air Force Base until Joint Base Langley-Eustis is prepared to fully accommodate that training mission. In March, the Air Force announced its intent to move the Formal Training Unit for the F-22 Raptor fighter jet from Tyndall Air Force Base to Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia.
In a letter to Secretary Donovan, Dunn wrote:
Our flight line at Tyndall is now capable of servicing this mission and is the only site in the Southeast U.S. capable of handling some of the more demanding maintenance issues with this unique aircraft. The extra burden that the F-22’s impose on Eglin AFB can be easily served on Tyndall AFB, freeing up Eglin’s airmen to prepare for their next F-35 squadron.
As you know, the “Schoolhouse” with its simulators and faculty remain at Tyndall, while the aircraft are flying out of Eglin. This results in many airmen, air crew, maintainers, and engineers commuting 4 hours round trip on an almost daily basis for training. I believe this is a burden and a cost that could readily be addressed by temporarily relocating the F-22 Training Squadron back to Tyndall.
In December, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced Tyndall Air Force Base as the future home to three squadrons of F-35s. Tyndall will become a purpose-built base for the 5th generation fighter with the addition of the F-35 squadrons. These squadrons will bring as many as 72 F-35s to Tyndall by 2023.