Tulsa Air National Guard Making Bid For F-35 Fighter Jets - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |


Tulsa Air National Guard Making Bid For F-35 Fighter Jets

Posted: Updated:
The F-35 jet will replace the F-16. CBS News photo. The F-35 jet will replace the F-16. CBS News photo.
The Air National Guard base is by the airport in Tulsa. The Air National Guard base is by the airport in Tulsa.
Renderings of the new F-35 planes. Renderings of the new F-35 planes.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A news conference was held Friday at Tulsa's Air National Guard base, as the Oklahoma National Guard makes a bid to be an operational location for the F-35 "Lightning II" fighter jet. It could ensure the base maintains a role as a combat-ready asset for the Air Force.

The Air National Guard has been flying the F-16 in numerous operations, making it competitive with other Air Force installations. That plane will be replaced with the F-35 sometime between 2026 and 2030, according to Colonel Max Moss of the Oklahoma National Guard.

Though the decision is years away, Tulsa officials want to work in advance to keep the air base here. A task force is being formed to lobby for the placement of an F-35 air wing in Tulsa.

7/31/2015 Related Story: Task Force Wants F-35 Wing Based At Tulsa

The Air Force is choosing which Air Guard bases will make the transition and which will stay with technology that, in ten years or so, will be out of date and unnecessary.

The fighter wing in Tulsa is right by the airport, with 21 fighter jets and 1,100 people on the payroll. To make sure that all stays in place, local and state officials plan to work together on a proposal for the Air Force to transition the base to the new aircraft.

Air Guard bases that get the new planes will be needed long in the future; for the others it's uncertain.

"The F-35 will be flying for decades in the future and we want to make sure we're part of that future," said Colonel David Burgy with the Oklahoma National Guard.

Oklahoma's Governor picked the group for a task force which hopes to convince the Pentagon to make Tulsa one of a handful of F-35 Air Guard bases.

Twenty people are on the task force including Mayor Dewey Bartlett, Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, former Director of the Air National Guard Lieutenant General (ret) Harry M. Wyatt III and Major General Robbie Asher, the adjutant general for Oklahoma.

They are promoting the area's access to training ranges, the infrastructure at the Tulsa Air National Guard Base and community support for the military, a news release states.

The competition will be tough and a short list will develop over the next year.

The transition to the new planes would happen in 2022.

"The transition from the F-16 to the F-35 has a lot of very, very, positive repercussions and consequences for our community that will last for decades,” Bartlett said.

The city has already helped the base add a fueling station that could work with the new planes.

The colonel that oversees the fighter wing said the 1,200 airmen who support the operation can easily handle the new aircraft.

The challenge is selling the idea in Washington.

"The F-35 is the future of the manned fighter business for tactical aviation and the 138th Fighter Wing and the Oklahoma National Guard is such a prominent piece of this community and northeast Oklahoma that we want to be sure to secure that for decades to come," Burgy said.

The lobbying will start immediately. The congressional delegation is involved.

The decision will come in about a year.

Special Features

Live Traffic

Get the latest road conditions on Green Country roadways.

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

CBS Shows

Watch your favorite CBS shows for free online.


Looking for a website or event you heard mentioned on News On 6? Find it here!

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Special Coverage

  • Bridge Tracker

    How safe are Oklahoma's bridges? Use Bridge Tracker to find out now.

  • Fallen Heroes

    News On 6 honors our fallen Oklahoma heroes. View our interactive timeline.

  • Murrah Bombing Timeline

    Learn more about the events leading up to and following the bombing.

  • Storm Zone

    Watch tornadoes tear across Oklahoma and learn how to stay safe!

Powered by Frankly
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KOTV. Oklahoma Traveler™ is a registered trademark of Griffin Communications. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.