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Eielson breaks ground for F-35A Lightning II flight simulator

On March 29, Eielson broke ground for the F-35A Lightning II flight simulator facility, which marks the beginning of improvements to the base’s infrastructure in order to house the new aircraft. Since Eielson’s selection to be the Air Force’s first operational overseas F-35A location, there has been a lot of work done to prepare for their arrival. Preparations include construction and renovations planned in support of 54 F-35s and approximately 3,500 Airman, contractors and their families. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman Eric M. Fisher)

On March 29, Eielson broke ground for the F-35A Lightning II flight simulator facility, which marks the beginning of improvements to the base’s infrastructure in order to house the new aircraft. Since Eielson’s selection to be the Air Force’s first operational overseas F-35A location, there has been a lot of work done to prepare for their arrival. Preparations include construction and renovations planned in support of 54 F-35s and approximately 3,500 Airman, contractors and their families. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman Eric M. Fisher)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

In April 2015, the Air Force selected Eielson Air Force Base to become the first operational overseas location for the F-35A Lightning II.

 On March 29, Col. David Mineau, the 354th Fighter Wing commander, officially broke ground for the F-35 beddown; less than a year after the initial selection was made.

 “The ground breaking for the flight simulator is the first major military construction project in the F-35 beddown,” said 1st Lt. Brett Brunner, the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron F-35 construction project manager chief. “The ceremony is both for this facility and the entire project at large.”

 The flight simulator will allow the initial F-35 pilots, who arrive to Eielson approximately six months before the first aircraft arrive, to maintain many of their flying currencies and skills during the half-year gap. It also allows them to train against modern threats in a highly-realistic environment.

 The F-35 beddown project is expected to cost $550 million and take place over the next three years. Construction and renovations have already began and Eielson is preparing to support 54 F-35s and approximately 3,500 Airmen, contractors and their families.