• 75°

F-35 could become a feared aircraft

The new F-35 jet fighter may be on its way to becoming the most feared plane in the sky. It’s a fifth-generation fighter plane, and no other country in the world is close to having something like it.

The best news for us is that it has a strong connection to the state of Alabama. Our state is one of only six air bases in the world where F-35s will be based. This Alabama connection opens the door to having a factory right here in east-central Alabama that manufactures jet trainer aircraft.

Historic Moton Field in Tuskegee, home of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, is the favored site for this new plant. It’s not yet official, but should it be coming here it will be a tremendous boon for the I-85 corridor from Montgomery to Atlanta. The new plant will need nearby supplier plants to help build the T-100 trainer aircraft.

Based in Italy, aerospace giant Leonardo builds similar planes and wants to have a U.S. plant located near the famed Tuskegee Airmen site.

Anyone who has driven down I-85 lately toward Montgomery has noticed a lot of work going on in the area. One can’t help but wonder that something is on the way. It looks like some work is going on at an exit and some nearby grading work going on as well.

It’s great that we’ve been building automobiles in Alabama and in West Point. It will be super-great to be building jet trainers while being home to the ultra-modern F-35.

The F-35 is an amazing piece of technology. It has a stealth engine that can’t be seen on radar. With the help of a special visor in his helmet, the plane’s pilot can see a man walking down a road from 20,000 feet in the air. He can see a man digging a hole and someone talking on a cell phone.

There is some controversy with the plane. It’s one of the most expensive weapons projects in history. According to the experts, though, it does have some substantial advantages over the F-16, including stealth, payload, range on internal fuel, avionics, operational effectiveness, supportability and survivability.

Here’s hoping the F-35 has a long history with our state.