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2012-05-22 11:08:37
Hill AFB could lose jobs with F-35 arrivals

Hill AFB could lose jobs with F-35 arrivals


The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday Apr 15, 2012 14:09:53 EDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Hill Air Force Base could lose jobs under a plan to replace an aging fleet of F-16 fighter jets with the new F-35, according to an Air Force study.

A draft environmental impact statement, released Friday, says Hill would need from $18 million to $40 million in construction, depending on the number of F-35s it receives.

The document lists Hill as the preferred choice among active-duty bases to host a fleet of F-35s, and considers the effects if the base were to house 24, 48 or 72 of them. Hill currently is home to 48 F-16s.

Hill could lose 1,157 support jobs if only 24 F-35s end up at base, the study says, and lose 572 jobs with 48 of the new jets. Thirteen more jobs would be required for 72 F-35s.

Construction costs would range from $18 million for 24 of the jets to $40 million for 72.

While neighborhoods now affected by jet noise in Davis and Weber counties would face similar noise with 24 and 48 F-35s, more households would experience higher levels of noise if the base were to host 72 of the jets.

Utah’s sparsely populated west desert would have perceptible increases in noise levels, but there would be fewer daily flights with 24 or 48 F-35s.

The public has 45 days to comment on the plan. Public hearings will be held May 1 in Layton, May 2 in Ogden and May 3 in West Wendover, Nev.

The F-35s are scheduled to go into service beginning in 2015, with the last F-16 expected to be withdrawn from service around 2025.

The new fighter has greater speed and combat range, and lower maintenance costs due to a computerized self-test system, according to the Air Force.

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