/ Modified aug 1, 2012 2:43 p.m.

Phoenix Area Base to Get F-35s

Tucson loses bid for multi-million-dollar training facility

By The Associated Press

Glendale officials say the Department of Defense has chosen Luke Air Force Base for the new training center for F-35 fighter jets.

Representatives with Luke's 56th Fighter Wing scheduled a news conference Wednesday afternoon to talk about the Air Force's decision.

The 71-year-old base in west Glendale was competing with Tucson's Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and bases in New Mexico and Idaho for the F-35 mission.

Officials say the Air Force will station 72 F-35s for the training of both U.S. and foreign pilots.

Luke has long been the training ground for F-16 pilots. The F-35 is intended to eventually replace the aging F-16.

Glendale officials say Luke could receive up to $125 million in federal funds for construction-related projects and the F-35s could arrive as early as next year.

In Tucson, the prospect of the F-35 was controversial because the jets are said to be much louder than the F-16s currently flown over Tucson by the Air National Guard and the A-10s flown by Davis-Monthan pilots.

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