Guard wants $30M jet pad
Hawaii's 154th Wing pushes for a new facility to accommodate its anticipated F-22 fighters
The Hawaii Air National Guard wants to demolish its nearly 50-year-old fighter alert pad at Hickam Air Force Base and replace it with a $30 million facility.
The existing jet fighter alert facility was built in 1958 when the Hawaii Air National Guard flew F-86 Sabre jet aircraft, said Maj. Chuck Anthony, Hawaii National Guard spokesman.
The facility, which now houses an unspecified number of F-15 Eagle jet fighters, pilots and air crews on call, was modified in the 1960s and again in 1984.
Anthony said that once an environmental assessment is completed, the Hawaii Air Guard hopes to begin construction in 2008. The deadline for public input into the environmental assessment is April 7.
Anthony said the Hawaii Air Guard's 154th Wing wants to relocate the alert facility closer to the makai side of the airfield. The current facility is outdated and lacks proper protection for the air crews, he said.
The Air Guard wing maintains 18 F-15 Eagle jet fighters as part of its 199th Fighter Squadron.
Anthony said the alert pad will be able to accommodate the Air Force's newest jet fighter: the F-22A Raptor, which can travel at 1.5 times the speed of sound, lock onto an enemy fighter 40 miles away and take it out with a missile before the other aircraft realizes it has been targeted.
Pending completion of an environmental impact study, 18 of the country's most expensive and lethal stealth jet fighters would be assigned to the 199th Squadron, replacing the F-15s that it has flown since 1987. The environmental impact study could be done in about five years.