Implications of Gates' budget proposeal for Alabama
Currently, the 1987th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field has 20 F-16 fighter jets and more are coming this year. The new aircraft and about 100 additional people are part of the last Base Realignment and Closure process.
In addition to those new people, about 150 active duty maintenance airmen and about 20 active duty pilots are due to join the unit by 2013 as part of the Air Force's total force integration initiative, Col. Jeff Smiley, commander of the 187th, said in December.
Gates' plan also calls for moving forward with the tanker contract, which could be good for Alabama if Northrop-Grumman/EADS wins the rebid as it did in the initial bid process. The corporation would assemble the tankers in Mobile, meaning jobs and money for Alabama.
Another interesting line in Gates' proposal is that he would eliminate 250 of the Air Force's oldest tactical aircraft. The F-15 is an older plane and there are some older F-16s. Most of the F-16s at Dannelly were built in 1987 and 1988. The A-10 could also fall under this. Retiring that many aircraft could cause a reorganization of fighter wings.