F-35 fighter jets touch down in Madison 

Four F-35 fighter jets, the first of 20 expected in the next year, landed Tuesday at Truax Field, Wisconsin Public Radio has reported. The new jets will replace F-16s at the Madison Air National Guard base. 

Madison’s 115th Fighter Wing is only the second Air National Guard unit in the U.S. to receive F-35s. The Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and Sen. Ron Johnson have championed their arrival, but public concerns over environmental damage, noise pollution, and lowered property values have persisted. 

In April 2020, Madison’s Common Council passed a non-binding resolution requesting that the U.S. secretary of the Air Force pick another location for the F-35s; Safe Skies Clean Water is suing in federal court in an attempt to block the jets as well. 

Estimates from an environmental impact statement submitted to the federal government stated the F-35s would be about five decibels louder than the current F-16s; it also estimates that about 2,766 residents would be exposed to average noise levels of 65 decibels. This could render land near the airfield incompatible for residential use. 

A $798,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense will be used by the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs for community outreach and noise mitigation planning amid the arrival of the F-35s.