Shaw F-35s in 2017

The first F-35s destined for basing at Shaw AFB, S.C., will start arriving in 2017. So said Lt. Gen. Gary North, commander of 9th Air Force, which is headquartered at Shaw, to the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce earlier this month, reported Sumter’s The Item newspaper yesterday. Shaw, located on the outskirts of Sumter, is also home to the 20th Fighter Wing, USAF’s largest combat F-16 wing. F-35s will replace those F-16s. Shaw is reportedly on the Air Force’s shortlist of beddown locations for the F-35, a list that we still haven’t seen issued publicly. The Item, citing Charlie Savage, a regional manager for F-35 maker Lockheed Martin, also said a noise analysis of basing the F-35s at Shaw will be issued in March. The Air Force has acknowledged that the noise level associated with the F-35 “is significant.” This has already prompted concern among some residents near Eglin AFB, Fla., which is supposed to serve as the joint F-35 schoolhouse. These concerns have prompted the Air Force to delay its final decision on Eglin.