Air Force announces fighter training mission preferred basing decision

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Air Force officials announced May 3 that Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, is the preferred location for consolidation of the Introduction Fighter Fundamentals training units.

The Air Force conducts IFF training at five locations, producing 450 IFF graduates per year.

Over the years, the Air Force IFF graduate requirement has dropped to 380 per year. As a result of the decrease in IFF graduate requirements, Air Force officials are consolidating IFF training from the current five locations down to three. The move is projected to save the Air Force approximately $55 million over the next eight years.

"As the Air Force's preferred alternative, Randolph AFB would accept 15 additional T-38 (Talons) and train approximately 80 additional students annually in support of the IFF consolidation," said Kathleen Ferguson, the deputy assistant secretary for installations.

A preferred alternative is one that officials believe best fulfills the Air Force's mission and responsibilities, taking into consideration environmental, operational, technical and other factors.

All five bases that currently conduct IFF training were evaluated for feasibility, timing, cost and planning purposes to meet initial operational capability. The Air Force secretary and Air Force chief of staff considered the site survey results and other military judgment factors in making this preferred alternative decision.

The Air Force is closing IFF units at Laughlin AFB, Texas, and Vance AFB, Okla., as part of actions to consolidate the IFF training mission from five locations to three. Sheppard AFB, Texas, was not considered for consolidation in the current actions because it is already operating at its full capacity for this mission.

Columbus AFB, Miss., was selected as a reasonable alternative for basing the IFF mission.

This is not a final basing decision, officials said. Selection is subject to completion of an environmental assessment. The preferred and reasonable alternatives will continue to be evaluated in the environmental impact analysis process.