Luke AFB west of Phoenix to get 72 more F-35s - New York News

Luke AFB west of Phoenix to get 72 more F-35s

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -

The Air Force has decided to assign three additional squadrons of the new F-35 fighter at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale.

The decision secures the future of the base 15 miles west of Phoenix as the current fleet of F-16s is retired. It brings the total to be assigned there for pilot training to six squadrons with 144 aircraft.

Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake announced the Air Force decision.

"We know Luke's record is unmatched when it comes to turning out the best fighter pilots in the world," said Gov. Jan Brewer.  "I might add that as a Glendale girl, I can say with confidence that Luke has always been the source of true west valley pride."

Luke serves as the Air Force's primary pilot training base for the F-16 fighter. City officials worried it would be left without a mission before a decision last year designated it as a pilot training base set to receive 72 new F-35s.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified.

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