The new fighter squadron of F-22 Raptors originally was scheduled to begin arriving sometime this month. By March, about 12 new F-22s were slated to arrive from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.
In total, the transfer of the fighter squadron from Holloman involves 620 active duty and 230 Air Force Reserve manpower authorizations. Twenty-one F-22s and seven T-38 Talons are scheduled to move from Holloman to Tyndall.
“It is about a one-year push,” said Herman Bell, chief of Tyndall’s 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs.
Tom Neubauer of the Bay Defense Alliance said the delay in the squadron move had been common knowledge.
“The positive aspect of this is that we now have a date,” Neubauer said.
U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, agreed Tuesday night there were some positives. The T-38s slated for Tyndall still will be coming this year.
Southerland said he spoke in December with Terry A. Yonkers, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for Installations, who confirmed the squadron was coming.
“He (was very) definitive in his commitment that we would be getting the aircraft,” Southerland said.
The Air Force said the timing of the move minimizes disruption to Air Froce personnel and their families while maintaining combat readiness.
Bell did leave the door open for additional changes, citing the new March 1 sequestration deadline, when an estimated $487 million in cuts to the Defense Department budget are scheduled to take effect.
“We’re still looking at what happens in March with the next fiscal cliff,” Bell said.
Until the F-22s arrive, Tyndall will continue the critical mission of training pilots in the world’s first fifth generation fighter aircraft, while preparing for the expanded mission of projecting unrivaled combat power and supporting the additional personnel and aircraft associated with the move.
“We’re still looking at this as if it were a ‘go,’ ” Bell said.
Bell said infrastructure improvements continue to be made regarding the arrival of the new fighter squadron.