Norfolk, Virginia – The Department of the Navy, after carefully weighing the strategic, operational, and environmental consequences of the proposed action, has decided to base the F-35C aircraft at Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, California.
This will be accomplished by implementing Alternative 2 of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for U.S. Navy F-35C West Coast Homebasing.
Under Alternative 2, a total of 100 F-35C aircraft in seven Navy Pacific Fleet squadrons (10 aircraft per squadron) and the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) (30 aircraft) will be based at NAS Lemoore beginning in 2016. The proposed action will be completed in the 2028 timeframe. The Navy has determined Alternative 2 best meets the operational needs of the Navy and, where feasible, minimizes potential environmental impacts.
The 100 F-35C aircraft will replace 70 aging FA-18 Hornet aircraft. As a result, aircraft based at NAS Lemoore will gradually increase by a total of 30 aircraft by 2028. Although this action calls for an increase of 30 aircraft based at NAS Lemoore, the FA-18C FRS with 30 aircraft assigned was disestablished in 2013. When the FRS for the F-35C is operational (in about 2018), the number of aircraft based at NAS Lemoore will be similar to 2013 levels. There will be no changes in aircraft based at Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro, California, under Alternative 2. Basing the F-35C at NAS Lemoore will result in an increase of about 68,400 operations per year at NAS Lemoore and an increase of about 800 operations per year at NAF El Centro.