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Selfridge loses bid to host F-35 fighter planes

A Lockheed-Martin F-35 Lightning II.
A Lockheed-Martin F-35 Lightning II.

Macomb County’s Selfridge Air National Guard base has lost its bidto house a fleet of next-generation warplanes.

Selfridge was one of five U.S. bases competing to host the new F-35 fighter jets.

But the Air Force announced Thursday it chose bases in Wisconsin and Alabama as winners in this round.

A bipartisan group of Michigan political leaders lobbied hard in Washington to land the F-35 and boost Selfridge’s long-term prospects.

Despite this setback, those leaders now say Selfridge proved itself a top contender for future opportunities.

“Although we are disappointed Selfridge was not selected to house the F-35 fighter jet, we are confident our hometown air base will be part of future fighter missions,” said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, calling it “a source of pride” that Selfridge made the final round of five.

Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell, who represents the Macomb County district in Congress, said the decision “is far from the end of the road for Selfridge. This process confirmed what we already knew: Selfridge is among the top five bases in the country, and it has world-class support from the surrounding community.”

“Selfridge is a strong contender for future conversion to the F-35, and I will continue working to ensure the base maintains a fighter mission for years to come,” said U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, a Democrat.

Peters also applauded the Air Force’s renewed interest in the A-10, a workhorse aircraft that had been scheduled for phase-out. Selfridge is home to the127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard, which has flown the A-10 Thunderbolt in combat missions since 2009. 

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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