Swanton Air National Guard base being considered for F-35A mission

COLUMBUS – The Air Force announced Tuesday that the Air National Guard base at the Toledo Express Airport in Swanton — home to the 180th Fighter Wing — is one of 18 installations, nationwide, being considered for two future F-35A joint strike fighter bases.

“We are proud of the contributions that the Airmen of the 180th Fighter Wing make in support of our national defense, both at home and overseas,” said Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, Ohio adjutant general. “That the 180th is among a select group of Air National Guard units from across the nation being considered to support this critical future mission and operate the next generation of fighter aircraft, really speaks to the high regard held for our Airmen and their record of sustained excellence.”

The Air Force will evaluate the facilities at the 180th Fighter Wing (FW), which currently operates the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Evaluation criteria will include operational requirements, potential impacts to existing missions, infrastructure and manpower. The Air Force will develop a cost estimate to house and maintain the F-35A at the 180th FW and will conduct a site visit if necessary.

Based on the results of these efforts, the Air Force plans to identify candidate installations for the two Air National Guard locations this summer before selecting the primary and alternate sites. Candidates will then undergo the Environmental Impact Analysis Process later this year.

The Air Force will then recommend the two operational Air National Guard bases to field the F-35A joint fighter, scheduled to occur between the summer of 2022 and winter of 2023.