Air Force officially awards F-35s to Truax Field in Madison

WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- After a lengthy review and public clashes between opponents and supporters, the U.S. Air Force has formally announced that the F-35 fighter will be based at Truax Field in Madison.

In a statement released Wednesday morning, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said the fighters will help keep the state and country safe.

“Today’s news ensures Wisconsin’s 115th Fighter Wing, based at Truax Field in Madison, will now receive a critical upgrade with the F-35 replacing the aging F-16 fighter jets currently in service," Johnson said. "The new fighters will help maintain U.S. air superiority and keep our state and country safe and secure. The F-35s will also ensure the Air National Guard continues to play an important role in Wisconsin’s communities and economy.”

Basing the jet in Madison had been opposed by large coalitions of groups including, most recently, the Madison Common Council whichvoted earlier this month to approve a resolution opposing the jets.

However supporters, including the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, argued that Wisconsin needed National Guard more than ever.

"We need jobs more than ever. We need economic investment more than ever. At a time when we look to our local leaders to unite us, a few alders chose to divide us and send a tone-deaf message that distracts from the truly urgent priorities facing our community,” read a statement from the chamber following the most recent common council vote.

In February, the Air Force released its final report on the environmental impact of the plans, keeping Madison at the top of the list for a new site,

That report paved the way for today's announcement.

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