Trump's concerns over F-35 won't deter push to land plane at Tru - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Trump's concerns over F-35 won't deter push to land plane at Truax Field

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MADISON (WKOW) -- President-Elect Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday he is still unsure about a new fighter jet that could be coming to Truax Field.

Trump said he's expressed a number of concerns about the F-35A jet to top military leaders.

"And it's way, way behind schedule and many, many billions of dollars over budget. I don't like that," said Trump, who added that he wants to get those costs down.
    
His comments come as the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce begins it's formal marketing push to land the F-35A here.

As 27 News first reported late last year, the 115th Fighter Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard is one of five finalists to receive the new F-35A for a new mission.

The U.S. Air Force is expected to narrow that field down to two units this spring.

The 115th and its base already meet what the Air Force is looking for from an operational standpoint.
    
"But they're also looking at - how is the community coalescing around the base and the service members that are there," said Zach Brandon, president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce.

That's why the Chamber launched its new "Together Truax" initiative this week to help promote the Madison area to the Air Force as well.

The initiative includes a new website, Facebook page and Twitter account.

"So, it's about organization, it's about building a collective capacity within the community to show support to the Air Force. So we needed a mechanism to do that," said Brandon.

State Senator Mark Miller (D-Monona) flew for the 115th Fighter Wing for 30 years and will serve as one of the area's biggest ambassadors for the project.

"Because I have familiarity with the unit, with the flying mission and what it means to our community. So, I'll be glad to do that," said Sen. Miller.

Despite the concerns over the aircraft mentioned by President-Elect Trump Wednesday, the focus here in Madison remains the same.

"We think that that decision has already been made and that any decision that might be made in the future won't impact this basing," said Brandon.

"There may be a slow down in the ongoing production of the F-35, but these are airplanes that are already produced and on the ground. They're gonna go somewhere. They're gonna go to two National Guard bases. I'd like to see one of those bases right here in Madison," said Sen. Miller.

The 115th Fighter Wing currently flies the oldest F-16 fleet still in operation for the Air Force, which is expected to be discontinued at some point in the next decade.

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