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Roby: Congress must continue to support F-35 Program

Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, cosponsored a House Resolution recognizing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program as a critical, cutting-edge component of America’s national security efforts that Congress must continue to properly fund and support.

Roby is the Co-Chair of the Joint Strike Fighter Caucus which endorsed the House Resolution, released the following statement.

“The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the military’s most cutting-edge war machine,” Roby said. “Congress must continue to provide adequate funding for the development and procurement of this next-generation fighter jet as we work to replace antiquated, outdated aircraft. The F-35 program is critically important to our national security, and I will continue to strongly support it in Congress.”

In December of 2017, the U.S. Air Force announced that the Alabama National Guard’s 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field in Montgomery was chosen for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter mission. The F-35 is the military’s newest aircraft and is slated to eventually replace many of the aircrafts currently in use with the U.S. armed forces, including the F-16, A-10, and F/A-18. The 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard currently includes a squadron of F-16 fighting falcon fighters, a combat communications group, an RC-26 reconnaissance aircraft squadron and an eagle vision unit. The 187th is one of five Air National Guard units on the short list to receive the F-35.

Roby has been a long proponent of the F-35.

When the Air Force announced that the F-35s were coming to Montgomery Roby said, “For the last two and a half years, I’ve been working with a partnership consisting of unit commanders, community and state leaders, local business leaders, and Alabama’s congressional delegation to bring the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to the 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field. The F-35 is the military’s most cutting-edge war machine that will eventually replace many Cold War-era fighters like the F-16 currently flown by the 187th. Landing this mission is a tremendous boost for the River Region community and the entire state, both economically and from a military standpoint. It could result in as many as 1,000 jobs and as much as $3 billion in investment – and that’s just the beginning.”

“I could not be prouder of the men and women of the 187th for how they demonstrated their capability to carry out this special mission,” Roby said. “As the legacy unit for the Tuskegee Airmen ‘Red Tails,’ the 187th Fighter Wing has an incredibly proud history. With today’s announcement, we know this unique unit has a very bright future with the F-35. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating this great news for our area and sharing it with your family and friends.”

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There have been a lot of technical issues and cost overruns with the F-35. Some are suggesting that the Air Force should continue purchasing the F-16s and retain the A-10 through the middle of this century as they are cheaper, more rugged, and more suited to the close support missions being flown by the Air Force in combat support operations and that there would be substantial cost savings by buying fewer of the F35s.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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