F-35 community impact discussed at University of Alaska Fairbanks

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska Colonel Benjamin Bishop was at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to provide a community discussion about the upcoming changes to Eielson AFB's mission and the inclusion of the F-35 in their training.

Colonel Benjamin Bishop was at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to provide a community discussion about the upcoming changes to Eielson AFB's mission and the inclusion of the F-35 in their training. [Photo: Carly Sjordal/KTVF - Presentation Courtesy of Eielson AFB]

By April 2020, Colonel Bishop hopes to integrate two F35's into Eielson and by the end of 2022, he hopes to have 54, and largely increase the active duty airmen at Eielson.

The F-35 combines 5th Generation fighter aircraft characteristics — advanced stealth, integrated avionics, sensor fusion and superior logistics support.

The F-35 helmet displays visuals of the aircraft and surface area the pilot is flying over in real time despite flying conditions, allowing the pilot to see through the plane, which Bishop called "The wonder woman effect".

The plane also contains cameras and infrared sensors which detect heat seeking missiles and can share data with friendly planes of different models.

It is also much harder to detect with any radars, allowing for advanced stealth operations.

Not only did Bishop discuss the plans capabilities of the advanced technology, but he also addressed community concerns about rapid population growth and housing.

"There's a lot of change in that growth and we're excited to work with the community and make sure that growth and we're excited to work with the community and make sure that growth happens in a sustainable manner." Said Bishop.

According to his numbers the base population is going to grow by 50 percent, and the borough population will increase by 5 percent.

When asked about what he hopes was taken away from his presentation, Colonel Bishop commented;

"It was a great opportunity to talk about the growth of that mission with two combat F-35 squadrons being stationed right here outside of Fairbanks. And then also an opportunity to say thanks. Thanks to the community for the fantastic support at Eielson because without that support we can't get our mission done."

Big changes are coming soon to the Eielson and Fairbanks local communities.

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