- Luke Air Force Base [Download a PDF]
- The 4,200-acre Luke Air Force Base opened in 1941, approximately 20 miles west of Phoenix. In 1995, the city of Glendale annexed Luke AFB as part of its efforts to manage compatible growth around the base.
- The base is named after World War I flying ace Lieutenant Frank Luke Jr., the first aviator to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Luke, who was born and raised in Phoenix, was killed in combat at the age of 21 on Sept. 29, 1918.
- Luke AFB is home to the Air Force’s 56th Fighter Wing, the largest fighter wing in the world with 165 aircraft and 25 squadrons.
- As the only active-duty F-16 training wing in the Air Force, Luke AFB trains more than 50 percent of the Air Force’s fighter pilots and 90 percent of its F-16 pilots.
- The base population includes approximately 8,000 active-duty military personnel and Department of Defense civilian employees and 6,700 family members. With about 70,000 retired military members living in the metropolitan area (which increases to119,000 military retirees during “snow-bird” season), Luke serves a total population approximately 85,000 people. Luke’s total population served increases to more than 133,000 during the winter months.
- The majority of Luke’s personnel live off-base in surrounding West Valley cities.
- Luke airmen receive some of the most comprehensive and realistic training available in the Air Force, including more than 265 hours of classroom training, 55 hours of flight simulator and 80 hours of flight time.
- FY 2009 Facts & Figures
-Produced 319 pilots & 636 crew chiefs
-Flew 27,490 training missions (“sorties”) — avg. 133 per day
-Totaled more than 35,819 flying hours – avg. 147 hours per day
-Base personnel volunteered more than100,000 hours in community
- In addition to flying and maintaining the F-16, Luke military personnel also deploy to support on-going operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and other combat assignments throughout the world. In fiscal year 2009, Luke deployed 616 airmen. F-16 combat pilots and maintainers currently in Afghanistan and Iraq were all trained at Luke AFB.
- Since 1988, Luke AFB has trained 16,270 fighter pilots to fly the F-16 Fighting Falcon and graduated 9,071 crew chiefs.
- Since 1941, Luke AFB has graduated more than 56,060 fighter pilots.
- The F-16 training mission at Luke AFB is dependent not only on the base itself, but on its airspace that includes gunnery ranges, low-level military training routes, outlying auxiliary airfields and military operating areas.
- An integral part of Luke’s F-16 fighter pilot training mission is the 1.7-million-acre Barry M. Goldwater Range, which allows for simultaneous training activities on nine air-to-ground and two air-to-air ranges. Luke’s Range Management Office oversees the operations on the eastern portion of the range.
- F-35 Lightning II [Download a PDF]
- Many of today’s aircraft that comprise most of the U.S. military aircraft inventory were produced in the 1970s. The combination of service-life exhaustion and escalating threats will require all of the services to slowly retire its current tactical aircraft. These issues are not restricted to the U.S. as the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy underscore similar problems. Other U.S. allies have are having the same problem.
- The F-35 Lightning II is designed to replace aging fighter inventories including U.S. Air Force A-10s and F-16s, U.S. Navy F/A-18s, U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers and F/A-18s, and U.K. Harrier GR.7s and Sea Harriers. With stealth and a host of next-generation technologies, the F-35 will be far and away the world’s most advanced multi-role fighter.
- The single-engine, single-seat F-35 will be manufactured in three versions: a conventional-takeoff-and-landing (CTOL) variant for the U.S. Air Force, an aircraft-carrier version (CV) for the U.S. Navy, and a short-takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) version for the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.K. Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.
- Affordability is the cornerstone of the F-35 program. It is achieved in large part through a very high level of common parts and systems across the three versions of the aircraft. Support costs are forecast to be about half that of present-day fighters, and streamlined assembly methods will cut production time significantly.
- With nine countries involved in its development (United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Australia), the F-35 represents a new model of international cooperation, ensuring affordable U.S. and coalition partner security well into the 21st century. The F-35 also brings together solid strategic international partnerships, providing affordability by reducing redundant research and development and providing access to technology around the world.
- From ongoing production today through testing and full service in the future, the F-35 will seamlessly incorporate the latest technological advancements as they emerge. Its solid aerodynamic design is specifically developed with room to grow; room that will continue to ensure that the F-35 will be a highly adaptable platform ready to accommodate rapidly changing technologies. The F-35 is a smart fighter that will get even smarter as new threats and the technologies to counter them emerge.
- The F-35 will be extremely lethal. It will have excellent aerodynamic performance and advanced integrated avionics. Its next generation stealth, superb situational awareness and reduced vulnerability will make the F-35 hard to find, hard to hit and hard to kill.
- The F-35 will create a truly global, highly effective fighter force. As the first U.S. combat aircraft acquisition program to have had international participation from its inception, the F-35 closes the “capability gap” between the U.S. and its allies and ensures that coalition forces are able to tackle heavily defended targets alongside U.S. forces.
- Lockheed Martin is the F-35 prime contractor, while Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems are principal partners in the project.
- Barry M. Goldwater Range [Download a PDF]
- An integral part of Luke AFB’s F-16 fighter pilot training mission is the Barry M. Goldwater Range, which was established through an executive order by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941.
- The 1.7-million-acre facility, located between Yuma and Tucson south of Interstate 8, is the nation’s third-largest bombing range. Overhead are 57,000 cubic miles of restricted airspace, coupled with 40,000 cubic miles of adjacent special-use airspace, where pilots practice air-to-air maneuvers and engage simulated battlefield targets on the ground.
- Luke AFB’s Range Management Office oversees operations on the eastern 7,000 square miles of the range complex, and the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma manages range activities on the western 1,500 square miles.
- Each year, fighters from Luke AFB conduct more than 30,000 air-to-air gunnery and air-to-ground bombing training operations at the range. Including other bases, more than 58,000 training operations are conducted on the east range complex annually.
- The Goldwater Range provides highly flexible joint military service training and realistic combat replications, and is the center point of a semicircular array of military air bases, airspace and ranges that form a highly flexible training complex. The range lies within the unrefueled flight radius of 12 Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, Army, Air National Guard and Army National Guard bases in Arizona and Southern California, and is accessible to Navy aircraft carriers in the Pacific Ocean.
- Combat pilots from the Army, Navy, Marine Corp and Air Force – active duty, guard and reserve – use the range to hone their skills.
- Larger than Massachusetts, the immense size of the complex allows for simultaneous training activities on nine air-to-ground and two air-to-air ranges. More than 50 aircrews and aircraft can simultaneously operate on the range while performing many independent training missions.
- In addition to Luke AFB, other military bases in Arizona that regularly use the east range for training operations are Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, the Arizona Air National Guard in Tucson, Silverbell Army Heliport in Marana and Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma.
- Luke Forward Campaign [Download a PDF]
- The Luke Forward campaign is being launched to bring the new F-35 joint strike fighter to Luke Air Force Base.
- Luke Air Force Base is currently the largest active duty F-16 training base in the world, and the Air Force is planning to begin replacing its fleet of F-16s with the new F-35 Lightning II within the next few years.
- Through the Luke Forward campaign, state and local government and business leaders plan to generate support from citizens living in every city and town in Arizona in order to position the region and the state as strong supporters of the F-35 training mission with the nation’s decision makers in Washington, D.C.
- The Luke Forward campaign is a statewide initiative as Arizona’s military industry represents one of the largest industries in the state and generates more than $9 billion in economic impact annually to Arizona. Luke Air Force Base is the largest military installation in Arizona in terms of the number of personnel it employs (more than 8,000), the population it serves (more than 100,000 base personnel, military families and retirees) and its economic impact to the state of Arizona ($2.17 billion annually).
- Residents will be learning about Luke Forward though a variety of ways – the creation of a new LukeForward.com Web site, a speaker’s bureau, presentations to business organizations, electronic billboards, email “blasts” to residents, cable programs, use of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, and through the use of other community outreach tools.
- The focal point of the campaign is the new LukeForward.com Web site, where residents living throughout Arizona can register their support of the F-35 mission coming to Luke Air Force Base.
- Arizona’s federal delegation in Washington D.C., Governor Jan Brewer and individual cities and towns throughout Arizona have come out in strong support of basing the F-35 training mission at Luke Air Force Base.
- The Luke Forward campaign was developed by the West Valley Partners and Fighter Country Partnership to generate awareness and support of the positive impacts this next generation strike fighter will bring to Arizona. Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs and Fighter Country Partnership Board Chairman Charley Freericks are co-chairing the Luke Forward campaign.
- West Valley Partners is the name selected for 13 municipal and county governments whose sole function is to retain appropriate federal representation in Washington, D.C. to lobby for funding, legislation and awareness that will assist in its goal of preserving current and future missions at Luke Air Force Base. This has resulted in federal appropriations to Luke Air Force Base and the Barry M. Goldwater Range of more than $11 million over the last few years.
- Membership in West Valley Partners includes Avondale, Buckeye, Glendale, Gila Bend, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Maricopa County, Peoria, Phoenix, Surprise, Tolleson, Wickenburg and Youngtown.
Source: Lockhead Martin
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I show my support for Luke Air Force Base as a future training site for the F-35? View Answer
- Are there any noise issues relating to the new F-35? View Answer
- Why should I care about protecting the future mission of Luke AFB? View Answer
- What are the benefits of Luke AFB becoming a F-35 training base for the Air Force? View Answer
- What has the state of Arizona and the West Valley done thus far to help prepare Luke AFB for the future training missions, such as the F-35? View Answer
- Why is the Air Force planning to phase out the F-16 fighter jet from its fleet and what does this mean to Luke AFB’s current training mission? View Answer
- Will the takeoffs/landings or flight patterns change if Luke AFB becomes a F-35 training base? Will the number of daily training flights change? View Answer
- What additional land-use restrictions, if any, will need to be implemented around the base if Luke AFB is selected for the F-35 training mission? View Answer
- Currently, what types of development can occur within the restricted land-use area? View Answer
The first thing you can do is to complete the online support form at www.LukeForward.com. Citizens can also voice their support of Luke AFB when the federal government seeks public comment from community stakeholders during the citizen participation portion of the environmental impact study. The future of Luke AFB depends largely on the community support it receives from people like you. So be sure to let your voice and the sound of freedom be heard!
Lockheed Martin (manufacturer of the F-35), in conjunction with the Air Force Research Lab, conducted an aircraft acoustics study on the F-35 in October 2008 at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Utilizing more than 170 microphones to collect data, the study found the takeoff and flyover noise generated from the F-35 comparable to the F-22 and F-18, but slightly louder (less than 10 percent) than the F-16s currently stationed at Luke AFB. The study noted that acoustic levels experienced by the public depend on a number of conditions, including topography, weather (temperature, humidity and wind), time of day, observer location in relation to the aircraft, length of time listener is exposed to aircraft, etc. The Air Force is in the process of validating the study results. The Environmental Impact Study that will be conducted at Luke will also consider the noise generated from the F-35 as part of its site-specific data collection.
There are several reasons why each and every one of us living in Arizona should care about the future mission of Luke AFB, and here are just two: First, the men and women who volunteer to enter the military and serve our country are, without a doubt, very special people. They are truly America’s heroes and go to work each day to protect our freedom and security. As we know all too well, we’re living during a time in history where the world is a very fragile, unstable place. We are currently involved in two wars and there is ongoing civil unrest in other parts of the world as well. Unfortunately, there are countries who do not believe in granting the same rights and freedoms to its people that we take for granted here in the U.S. So now more than ever it’s critical that our military personnel are prepared to respond when the need arises. And, in order to be prepared, our military personnel must receive the best training possible. Since Luke AFB began operations in 1941, the base has trained and graduated more than 55,000 fighter pilots. Arizona has the ideal climate, land, airspace, training ranges and facilities needed to train and fly the next generation of jet fighter. Thus, securing the F-35 training mission is the next logical step for Luke to continue to serve as one of the Air Force’s premier training bases for decades to come. Second, Arizona’s military industry is one of the largest industries and economic generators in the state. Luke AFB, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Fort Huachuca Army Intelligence Center, Yuma Army Proving Grounds, Marine Corp Air Station and four principal National Guard operations make up Arizona’s military industry. Collectively, these military facilities employ 83,000 active duty personnel, reservists and civilians and generate $9.1 billion annually to Arizona’s economy. Luke AFB alone contributes $2.1 billion annually to the state’s economy and employs more people than JP Morgan Chase, American Express or Arizona Public Service. Just as we would do all that we can to keep the state’s largest employers and revenue generators right here in Arizona, we should do everything possible to protect Luke AFB and our other military bases in Arizona. This is especially important in light of the economic challenges facing our state.
First and foremost, it will enable Luke to continue playing a critical role in our nation’s defense and security systems. Locally, there will also be direct benefits to residents and businesses in the West Valley, metro Phoenix area and the state if Luke AFB becomes an F-35 training base. The new training mission will generate additional (civilian) employment and construction jobs, wages, consumer spending and investments. Luke AFB can anticipate receiving an immediate investment from the federal government of $100-$125 million in construction-related projects should the base receive the F-35 mission. Much of this investment will positively impact the state’s economy with local labor and suppliers of construction material.Also, Luke’s military personnel and their families spend money here and many people come to visit, so the new F-35 mission will contribute to local and state tourism dollars. In addition, Luke AFB purchases a large amount of goods and services locally, and those contracts are with private-sector companies — from home-based businesses to corporations — throughout the state. In fact, the economic impact of Luke to the state’s economy is $2.17 billion annually. This economic impact is comparable to the state hosting four Super Bowls annually for decades to come! Thus, the F-35 mission will also bring with it decades of sustainable recession-proof economic benefits to the Valley and state of Arizona.
Local and state elected officials have taken extraordinary steps to preserve and enhance the long-term mission viability of Luke AFB. Since the first successful state legislation was passed in 1978, there has been a coordinated, comprehensive and continuous approach to establishing compatible land uses around the state’s military installations, including Luke. Today, state laws provide statutory guidance to ensure responsible land-use planning around Luke and other Arizona military bases. These laws, which established compatible land uses and protections within noise contours and accident potential zones around Luke along with other protection measures, reflect the tremendous commitment state, local and community leaders have in protecting military installations statewide from residential encroachment and will help ensure Luke’s future viability in our state. Today, Arizona is recognized as a national model in protecting military facilities. In order to continue this success story for Arizona and the West Valley, we must continue to be proactive in supporting efforts to protect and continue the mission at Luke AFB.
The Air Force began using the F-16 aircraft in 1979. But, just like an older car needs to be replaced due to aging mechanical parts, so does a 30-year-old fighter jet. The Air Force will keep the F-16 in service for at least another decade and is scheduled to completely retire the fleet by 2025. The planned replacement for the F-16 is the F-35 joint strike fighter, which is the military’s new and improved fighter jet. Having the F-35 come to Luke is the next step in our military development and national protection. In addition to the Air Force, the F-35 will be used by the Navy and Marine Corps, as well as eight foreign militaries. Eglin Air Force Base in Florida has been selected as the Air Force’s first training base for the F-35.Regarding Luke AFB’s current F-16 training mission, the Air Force has not released a specific date yet as to when the F-16 will be retired from the base. But it is possible that Luke will continue to have some F-16s until 2025 or beyond in order to continue supporting the training missions of other ally countries that have purchased F-16s from the U.S.
It is anticipated the takeoffs/landings and flight patterns, as well as the number of daily training flights, will largely remain the same. The only difference will be the new F-35 aircraft. Currently, Luke’s flight operations are typically from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Flights may occur on weekends, due to training mission requirements. Luke flies between 125-150 training missions (referred to in the military as “sorties”) a day, which can result in more than 400 flights over the local area daily.
When the state of Arizona established noise contour lines around Luke AFB through statutory regulations, elected officials had the foresight to make the area within the noise lines larger in order to provide the flexibility to accommodate new aircraft and changing training missions. For example, the current noise lines are almost twice as large than what is necessary for the F-16. West Valley cities bordering Luke AFB have protected 32,788 acres from development that would be incompatible with Luke’s training mission. Due to the state’s proactive approach in protecting Luke, it may not be necessary to expand the existing noise lines in order to accommodate the F-35.
Arizona’s Compatible Land Use Plan for military airfields is structured into seven separate zones that are based on the high hazard and noise guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Air Installation Compatible Use Zone (AICUZ) program and state of Arizona legislation. Compatible uses and the recommended intensity of these uses differ within these seven zones. Compatible uses range from wholesale trade and distribution and manufacturing and industrial processing to general agriculture/livestock, business, personal and professional services and communications facilities and utilities.