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Two Alaska military bases make shortlist to house new fighter aircraft

By KTVA CBS 11 News 6:51 PM February 25, 2014

JBER and Eielson are the only American bases on the list

ANCHORAGE – Alaska’s two biggest military bases are on a shortlist to house the U.S. Air Force’s next generation of fighter aircraft.

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Eielson Air Force Base are two of just five finalists and the only American bases on the list to potentially house the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski was in a meeting with top-level Air Force personnel Tuesday and says the base selected would house two squadrons of 24 fighter jets and 500 personnel — plus their families.

Sen. Mark Begich says it’s a chance for Alaska to be included in the country’s defense plan.

“Both communities will benefit, the small business communities will benefit and the employment will obviously go up and we’ll have a long-term relationship with the new strategic fighter jet, the F-35s,” Begich said.

The Air Force will whittle down the options to two or three bases in the coming months.

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