The US Air Force (USAF) has signed a Record of Decision, approving plans for the service’s Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor Formal Training Unit (FTU) to be relocated to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, from Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB), Florida.
The signing of this Record of Decision was announced by Air Combat Command’s Public Affairs Office (PAO) on June 25. It added that the USAF “is awaiting the completion of the tactical air study before solidifying timelines planned force structure moves.” The decision to relocate the F-22A FTU – otherwise known as the 43rd Fighter Squadron (FS) ‘Hornets’ – to Joint Base Langley-Eustis was based on a thorough environmental analysis. This included the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement and considered input from the public and regulatory agencies.
Air Combat Command’s PAO added that “consolidating the F-22 fleet at Joint Base Langley-Eustis would make use of existing force structure, which would increase aircraft availability and shorten training timelines. This, in turn, would improve pilot production rates and readiness.”
This move to move the F-22A FTU to Joint Base Langley-Eustis follows the unit’s temporary relocation to Eglin AFB, Florida, after Tyndall suffered heavy damage as a result of Hurricane Michael, which made landfall in October 2018. While the squadron was temporarily housed at Eglin, the USAF determined that Joint Base Langley-Eustis would be the future permanent location for the ‘Hornets’ through its strategic basing process.
Assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, the 43rd FS was reactivated on October 25, 2002, to provide air dominance training for air force pilots learning to fly and operate the F-22A Raptor. Until its relocation to Eglin, the unit has been a resident of Tyndall AFB since it was reactivated.