Terre Haute’s Hulman Field is one of five sites being considered for the United States Air Force’s F-35 Fighter Jet Training Center.
The West Central Indiana Defense Network and Indiana National Guard are collaborating with state officials to present to the selection committee.
Foreign military partners, like Singapore, would receive F-35 jet training at the facility selected for the program.
General Dale Lyles, Indiana National Guard Adjutant General said, it’s more than just a training program.
“We see this as an opportunity for the air force to put lots of programs here beyond just the f-35 for the Singapore air force,” he said.
The West Central Indiana Defense Network consists of community leaders like Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett.
Lyle said their support is key when presenting their case to the selection committee.
“The mayor has made it clear that he is all in and we’re going to team together to strengthen this argument so that we can win this,” Lyles explained.
The project will be funded by the state and federal government.
“The economic impact would be tremendous. Not only from the air force perspective by bringing personnel here but to bring in these air force pilots from other countries as they purchase the planes from the United States. Then they’re trained to take them back home to defend their countries. The trickle down effect from that investment would be significant,” said Mayor Bennett.
Bennett said their main goal is to win the selection. However, he’s also optimistic about future opportunities.
“This process will expose us to other opportunities. That’s all part of it. We just want to keep working hard. If we didn’t get this one then I would expect us to get something else. I want this one though. We all do. We think this would be the best thing for our community.”