PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Tuesday’s groundbreaking at Tyndall Air Force Base is the first visible sign the mission is returning.
Leaders can hardly wait for the arrival of the F-35 A Lightning II fighter jets.
“This represents a $604 million investment in the Build Tyndall Strong effort and is the single largest military construction contract on record in the Air Force database which dates back to 2008,” 325th Fighter Wing Chief of Plans and Programs Captain Torrance Branch said.
This zone one construction includes 11 separate projects.
Crews will first start working on the flight line and the hangars to house the F35s.
“When I fly the F-35, I have the stealth capability built in so it’s really hard for the adversary to see me and I have a big computer screen that shows me what all is going on around me at all times,” 325th Fighter Wing Commander Colonel George Watkins said. “And the video is more like a video game so it’s very intuitive so I can see if there’s somebody behind me, if there’s somebody in front of me if there’s somebody 100 miles away and I can tell what’s going on there.”
The jets are slated to arrive at Tyndall in September 2023.
They will begin training to fly the fighters immediately.
Facilities won’t be finished so they’ll have to work out of temporary buildings.
“There’s going to be about 3,000 contractors coming on base for construction so there’s going to be a lot of activity in the community you know for housing, temporary housing, for lodging and for food, and a lot of the folks coming in for the rebuild of the future,” Watkins said. “It’s going to be pretty awesome.”
The facilities being built will all be resistant to future hurricanes and flooding. So unlike the facilities pre-Hurricane Michael, these new ones will be here to stay and set the tone for the rest of the military.