An F-35A Lightning II performs an aerial maneuver in Reno, Nev., on Sept. 19, 2021.

An F-35A Lightning II performs an aerial maneuver in Reno, Nev., on Sept. 19, 2021. (Nicolas Myers/U.S. Air Force)

(Tribune News Service) — The Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs will use a $798,000 federal grant to conduct outreach and study noise-mitigation options for the neighborhoods likely to be affected by a fleet of F-35 jets that will be stationed this spring at Truax Field on Madison’s North Side.

The first of 20 F-35s are expected to arrive in late April or early May, a public affairs officer with the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing said last month.

The planes will replace the F-16s that had been stationed at the base since 1992 but left for good in October. They were to be used by other Air Force units in Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey and Texas.

The U.S. Defense Department grant will fund outreach including town halls and multilingual education initiatives, “and prepare a feasibility study to assess noise mitigation options for impacted neighborhoods and develop best practices for mitigation,” according to a news release from the office of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D- Madison.

Despite community division and concerns about noise and pollution, the Air Force selected the 115th in 2020 as one of the nation’s first National Guard units to fly the F-35.

Truax Field is undergoing roughly $120 million worth of construction to accommodate the 20 new jets. In the meantime, pilots from other units around the country have been flying F-16s out of Madison in support of the Guard’s homeland defense mission.

Truax’s former F-16 Fighting Falcons replaced the A-10 Thunderbolt and were the eighth plane type flown by the Air National Guard unit since it was formed in 1948.

(c)2023 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)

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