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Tyndall Air Force Base chosen for three new F-35 squadrons

A F-22 Raptor from the 325th Fighter Wing flies alongside a F-35 Lightning II from the 33rd Fighter Wing over the Emerald Coast in Florida, where Tyndall Air Force Base has been selected to host three F-35 squadrons. Photo by Savanah Bray/U.S. Air Force
A F-22 Raptor from the 325th Fighter Wing flies alongside a F-35 Lightning II from the 33rd Fighter Wing over the Emerald Coast in Florida, where Tyndall Air Force Base has been selected to host three F-35 squadrons. Photo by Savanah Bray/U.S. Air Force

March 30 (UPI) -- Florida's Tyndall Air Force Base will host three new squadrons of the F-35 Lightning II, the Air Force announced Tuesday.

Air Force officials selected Tyndall based on its "infrastructure capability, quality of life for Airmen and airspace," according to the service's press release.

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The selection process, which included an environmental impact analysis, followed a 2018 proposal to base the aircraft at Tyndall after a $3 billion redesign of the installation, which is situated near Panama City in Florida's panhandle.

That redesign, prompted by extensive damage from Hurricane Michael, allowed the base to become the Defense Department's first Installation of the Future.

"The airspace surrounding Tyndall is a national treasure," Moseley said. "The type of training conducted here integrates the DoD's most advanced aircraft and builds a dynamic force," Col. Greg Moseley, 325th Fighting Wing commander, said in the Air Force release.

The aircraft will be delivered to three fighter squadrons at the base in multiple phases, the Air Force said, with the first plane scheduled to arrive in September 2023.

Each squadron will have 24 Joint Strike Fighters assigned, for a total of 72 assigned to the installation's 325th FW.

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Earlier this week, the Air Force announced that semi-autonomous robot dogs have begun guarding Tyndall as part of the 325th Security Forces Squadron.

The robotic dogs carry a variety of cameras and other sensors, can traverse difficult terrain in extreme temperatures, crouch for a lower center of gravity and have a "high-step" mode to change leg mobility.

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