HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The National Defense Authorization Act, which contains major dollars for Hill Air Force Base, has just two hurdles to pass through before it becomes law and the base becomes $38 million richer.
Two weeks ago, the House voted to pass the NDAA, which allows for the funding of a hangar and flight simulators for the F-35A at Hill, as well as money for a set of storage facilities to house munitions and other critical items at the base. Hill’s entire NDAA funding package is worth $38.4 million.
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the Hill allocation is critical to near-future operations at the base.
As home to the Air Force’s first operational F-35 wing, Hill is scheduled to receive 72 jets, which will be divided among three fighter squadrons and flown and maintained by members of the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings. The first jet will arrive late this year, and the rest of the fleet will continue to come to Hill on a staggered basis, spread out through 2019.
“The F-35 is critical to our national defense and Hill is critical to the F-35,” he said. “It is important that we pass the NDAA each year as it allows the armed services to provide security for our nation.”
The NDAA must now be passed by the Senate and signed by President Obama before it becomes law. Bishop said the construction funding will create numerous jobs for both active-duty military members and civilians.
“A partnership has existed between the Air Force and the state of Utah that has mutually benefited U.S. national security and the Utah community for decades,” Bishop said in a statement.
Nearly 30 projects totaling more than $100 million will be completed by 2019 as part of Hill’s F-35 program.
Of the current NDAA funds, $21 million will go to the F-35 hangar, $11.5 million will go to the storage facilities and $5.9 million will go toward an addition to a base building that must be expanded in order to house two F-35 flight simulators.