Macomb County officials have launched a campaign to bring the F-35 Lightning II to Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township.
“Given the infrastructure at Selfridge and at our northern Michigan training facilities in Alpena and Grayling, it just makes sense, both operationally and fiscally, to base the F-35 in Michigan,” says Major General Gregory J. Vadnais, the adjutant general of Michigan.
The F-35 Lightning II is a fifth-generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations, and advanced sustainment. Three variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy and the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps.
The Lightning II is a single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft designed for many missions with advanced, integrated sensors built into every aircraft. Missions that were traditionally performed by small numbers of specialized aircraft, such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and electronic attack missions can now be executed by a squadron of F-35s, bringing new capabilities to many allied forces.
“Macomb County is the defense capital of the Midwest, we build things to protect those who protect us,” says Mark Hackel, Macomb county executive.
Bringing the F-35 to Selfridge will benefit the local economy and the base’s strategic location along the international border with Canada and Michigan’s network of defense resources.
Located north of Detroit on the shore of Lake St. Clair, Selfridge Air National Guard Base is a joint military community whose major tenants include the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, and Customs and Border Protection.