Senator Amy Klobuchar stopped by the 148th Duluth Fighter Wing on Tuesday to tour the base and see what funding it needs to keep its aircrafts and facilities up to date.
She says the National Defense Authorization Act would help fund what’s needed for Minnesota’s air national guard, such as F-35 fighter crafts. She cited her support for the fighter wing in 2010 when it upgraded to F-16S.
At the visit, the senator met with air guard individuals and took a tour around the hanger. The 148th is one of the top ten employers in the area, responsible for over a thousand jobs with an economic impact of 96 million.
“As one of just two Air National Guard wings tasked with specializing in the suppression and destruction of enemy air defenses, they have the training needed to repel enemy planes using the most sophisticated tactics and as the NORAD Aerospace Control Alert Trained Flying using their mission extends to the air sovereignty of our entire continent,” said Klobuchar.
A draft of the National Defense Authorization Act would have actually prevented the 148th from being considered for the new F-35s, but the final version of the bill that was signed into law allows it.
“I am committed to working with the wing on this every step of the way because I know that our entire country and really the world and the worlds democracy’s are safer when we have our air national guard in procession of the best aircraft possible,” Klobuchar says.
Klobuchar says the next step is to have more of the defense budget spending flow into air bases like the 148th. She also hopes to see Minnesota lawmakers and the Governor push for funding in next year’s bonding bill to modernize the hangers and aircrafts.