KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. --
The City of Klamath Falls demonstrated an unprecedented level of community support for the 173rd Fighter Wing by extending the lease on the airfield property until 2095—the longest lease in the U.S. Air Force.
In a ceremony at Kingsley Field, city officials expressed their appreciation for the unique mission of the wing and expressed the desire for its continued success into the next century.
“The partnership is one that works well,” said Klamath Falls Mayor Carol Westfall, “and we believe it will make our community one of the best places to live and work and be part of.”
U.S. Representative Greg Walden added that the lease benefits both the community and the Oregon Air National Guard.
“The signing of this lease extension exemplifies how our community in the basin has embraced the Guard’s mission, supports our men and women in uniform, and benefits from the base’s investment back into the community.”
This lease extension adds a capstone to recent improvements including a new airspace expansion which brings the total area to 11,300 square miles, making it among the largest test and training ranges in the U.S. Air Force.
This airspace expansion allows the opportunity for a fairly new concept in training—use of a contracted adversary air (ADAIR) squadron which will serve to increase the number of sorties directly related to student training. This new ADAIR squadron of about six aircraft would simulate enemy aircraft during training sorties rather than requiring some of the F-15Cs to fill the adversary role. This will free up more of the F-15Cs for student training and allow the unit to graduate a larger number of new F-15C pilots for the Combat Air Forces.
The extended lease also helps solidify over $80M in planned construction projects in response to growth requirements such as the addition of nearly 100 active-duty troops in an Active Association and the proposed addition of contract aircraft on the ramp. A new fire station is currently under construction and planned projects include a new fuel offloading and on-loading station, a new corrosion control facility, ramp improvement construction, and many others.
During the ceremony speakers noted the litany of recent accomplishments have paved the way for both this unprecedented lease extension, and positioned Kingsley Field for the future.
“With its over 50,000 square-yards of ramp space, unrivaled support from the community, and four decades of fighter training culture, Kingsley Field is clearly a perfect home for the F-35, or any future training missions for that matter,” added Walden.
The 173rd Fighter Wing is home to the sole F-15C formal training schoolhouse for the United States Air Force.