Joint Strike Fighter

MCAS Cherry Point to break ground on F-35 Aircraft Maintenance Hangar

September 05, 2020


Marine and Navy leaders underscored the start of the $105 million military construction project with a groundbreaking ceremony at the air station at 10:30 a.m., Friday, Sept. 4. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the size of the audience at the event was limited.

The groundbreaking event was momentous as the air station begins to see tangible modernization of its facilities and infrastructure, and the transformation of the nearly 80-year-old installation into a key base for the future of Marine Aviation and its next generation fighter aircraft, the Joint Strike Fighter. More than one billion dollars of MILCON projects are planned through 2027 to make way for six F-35 Lightning II squadrons.

Marine leaders of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, MCAS Cherry Point and Navy Facilities Engineering Command will be on hand to accent the historic occasion and to articulate its significance for the Department of Defense, Marine Corps and Eastern North Carolina.


President Trump’s Proposed Defense Budget Benefits MCAS Cherry Point and FRC East

May 26, 2017


For more information, contact Jamie Norment 252.259.2451 or Marc Finlayson 252.617.0757

HAVELOCK, NC– The President’s proposed budget for FY 2017-2018 contains many positive items for the Cherry Point community and Marine Corps. ACT is encouraged to see positive developments on several projects it has actively supported.

ACT has been working on several issues with both the Department of Defense and the Congress that are needed by the Marine Corps and other tenants aboard MCAS Cherry Point. ACT is committed to supporting state and federal budgets and policy that are in the best interest of MCAS Cherry Point, FRC East, and those who serve and work there.

Although the President’s budget proposal will be changed by the Congress over the coming months, ACT will work with all stakeholders to ensure the best possible outcome for MCAS Cherry Point and FRC East.

F-35 Program Fully Supported

We are very pleased to see that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is robustly supported in the President’s request with 70 aircraft being procured and that 20 of those are specifically Short Take Vertical Landing (STOVL) variants specifically for the Marines. We will be working with the Marine Corps and other Defense Department users of the F-35 to further improve those numbers in the Congressional budget process as additional funds are made available to procure aircraft already identified as a real need by the Pentagon, but not specifically funded at this stage.

New Construction Budgeted for MCAS Cherry Point

We are pleased that the budget now contains funds for Military Construction funding (MILCON) that will be used to construct a new Lift Fan Test Facility with about $16 million and to upgrade an FRC East hangar to perform Lift Fan work with about $2.7 million. This will allow FRC East to expand its work on F-35Bs for the Marine Corps and U.S. allies who are purchase the STOVL variant. This helps keep Cherry Point on the leading edge of supporting our warfighters and other F-35 users.


As for BRAC, it has been threatened for occurrence for several years and will likely occur at some point, but we are optimistic that Marine Corps readiness and warfighting requirements coupled with enhancements to Cherry Point in both technology and mission capabilities will help keep it a vital part of America’s future. It is important to remain vigilant as the potential for a new BRAC progresses and to continue to do all we can to sustain and improve Cherry Point’s viability and contribution to America’s national security objectives.

Budget Background and Some Specifics

On Tuesday, May 23, 2017, the Trump administration unveiled a budget request, which calls for more than $1 trillion in cuts to a wide range of social programs. The $4.1 trillion budget — called “The New Foundation for American Greatness” — proposes $607 billion in defense discretionary spending and $560 billion in non-defense discretionary spending for 2018.

The budget fully reverses the defense sequester by increasing funding for national defense by $54 billion above the cap in current law and fully offsetting this increase with non-defense discretionary reductions. This includes the previously mentioned $52 billion increase for the Department of Defense as well as $2 billion of increases for other national defense programs, including the National Nuclear Security Administration.

The budget proposal requests $146 billion for Military Personnel, $7.1 billion above FY 2017; $271.9 billion for Operations and Maintenance, $22.8 billion above FY17; $125.2 billion for Procurement, $5.6 billion above FY17; $83.3 billion for RDT&E, $13.4 billion above FY17; and $9 billion for Military Construction, $2.4 billion above FY17.

F-35 Funding

The budget provides $10.8 billion for the procurement of 70 F-35 Lightning Aircraft: 20 short take-off and vertical landing variants for the Marine Corps, four carrier variants for the Navy, and 46 conventional variants for the Air Force.

Air Force
F-35 – 46
$ 4,544,684,000

JSF – 4
$ 582,324,000

JSF STOVL – 20 $ 2,398,139,000

About ACT

Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow, or ACT, was originally formed in the 1990s by a group of concerned civic and business leaders to advocate for Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and Fleet Readiness Center (FRC-E) East. The rallying cause was around the earlier Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. Today, ACT is the only regional association of County and municipal governments, non-profits, businesses, and individuals focused exclusively on advocating for MCAS Cherry Point and FRC East through our elected officials.

ACT supports for the continued presence and success of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, FRC East, and their civilian employees. ACT also supports economic development related to Cherry Point’s annual $2.1 billion direct economic impact.

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Have a look at the acclaimed F-35

March 13, 2017


The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing variant completed ship suitability testing aboard the USS WASP (LHD-1) off the coast of Virginia in October 2011. Combined, F-35B test aircraft BF-2 and BF-4 accomplished 72 short takeoffs and 72 vertical landings during the three-week testing period.


Lockhead CEO vows again to cut F-35 costs

January 16, 2017


WASHINGTON — Under pressure from President-elect Donald Trump to cut costs for the F-35 fighter jet program, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson visited Trump Tower on Friday for a second meeting with Trump, previewing a deal to satisfy him and promising more jobs in Fort Worth. >>READ MORE


James Mattis Affirms F-35 Support

January 12, 2017


Secretary of Defense designate James Mattis testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on January 12. Below are excerpts from the hearing testimony that address the F-35. We have emphasized in bold key statements.

SENATOR BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): And I think you agree, too, because you mentioned our support for Israel that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is important to our strategic edge in the world and to our allies like Israel and others around the world, including at NATO, that will depending on it.

MATTIS: Yes, sir. Many of our allies have bet their air superiority on the F-35 program. And it bonds us tightly together with them.
SENATOR TED CRUZ (TX-R): So one of the things we discussed, was the need to maintain air superiority going forward. And you referenced that need just a minute ago. And — and I think an important piece of that, is the F-35 program which — which I believe successful completion of the F-35 program is — is critical to future mission success.

Both for us and — and for key allies, like the United Kingdom and Israel. And right now, we have over 200 F-35s fielded today. And just this week, the Marine Corps began the first F-35 overseas deployment.

Now, all of us are concerned about limiting costs and that’s — that needs to be a focus going forward. But can you highlight for this committee what separates the F-35 from Legacy aircraft and the advantages it provides to our military in — in future combat situations?

MATTIS: Senator, the F-35 is critical for our own air superiority in the future because of its stealth characteristics and some of its electronics capability that’s inherent to the airplane which actually magnifies each individual aircraft’s capability.

But it is equally important, if not more so, to some of our — to some of our allies. And I say more so because this will be the total fighter strength to their Air Force. So to them, it’s — it’s an all- in sort of situation.

So the F-35, the president-elect is — has talked about the costs of it. But he has in no way, shown a lack of support for the program, he just wants the best bang for the buck.

CRUZ: Sure. I look forward to working closely with you to strengthen that program.
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