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​An F-35 Lightning II (middle) and F-16 Fighting Falcons fly to Edwards AFBN, Calif. Photo courtesy of Darin Russell.

​The Air Force this week announced four new candidate bases for the first Reserve-led F-35 unit, and criteria for two additional Air National Guard bases for the aircraft. They are: Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.; Homestead ARB, Fla.; NAS Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas; and Whiteman AFB, Mo., according to an Air Force release. The preferred and reasonable alternatives will be picked in the fall, with the first F-35As expected to arrive in 2023. The service said it also will evaluate Air National Guard bases for mission requirements, capacity, environmental requirements, and cost factors. Air National Guard bases need to have at least 8,000-foot runways and operational A-10s, F-16s, or F-15s to qualify. The bases will be identified by this summer, with the evaluation process beginning later this year. The Air Force announced last week that Eielson AFB, Alaska, will be the first operational “overseas” location. (See also Building Homes for the F-35s from the March 2015 issue of Air Force Magazine.)