Eglin Air Force Base in Florida's panhandle is currently the only home for the F-35. But, the latest generation fighter plane is set to patrol the skies of the Green Mountain State in the near future.
Flanked by Gov. Peter Shumlin and Sen. Patrick Leahy, Adjutant General Steven Cray delivered the news Tuesday afternoon.
The Air Force's plan calls for 18 of the planes to touch down in Vermont in 2020, replacing the current fleet of F-16s.
Leahy said Vermont Air National Guard's selection is a tribute to the reputation earned by its men and women.
"You made Vermont proud yesterday; you do today; I know you will tomorrow. Thank you very much," said Leahy, D-Vermont.
"There has been contention, there has been controversy," said Mayor Miro Weinberger, D-Burlington.
Weinberger, Winooski Mayor Mike O'Brien and South Burlington City Council Chairwoman Pam MacKenzie say they're already working to mitigate any added noise created by the transition from F-16 to the F-35.
"This plane is injustice incorporated," James Leas said.
Outspoken opponents like Leas of Burlington say they're planning another lawsuit to stop the F-35 from landing here, bringing the total to three. Leas complains that neither Leahy nor Shumlin took the time to listen to the plane's critics.
"We're going to be looking for support all over the country and all over the world," Leas said.
Opponents took aim at the plane's bloated budget, frequent missed development timetables and health effects to residents surrounding the airport from increased noise levels.
Proponents argued for jobs, supporting the local Guard and benefits to the airport.
In the official record of decision Air Force leaders cited several factors, like current infrastructure, but none more prominently than cost.
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