Peace Action WI: No F-35 Aircraft, No Nuclear Bombs

No F-35 Aircraft in Wisconsin! No Nuclear Bombs Stored in Wisconsin!

The National Guard Bureau plans to bring 2 squadrons of 18 F-35 joint strike fighter stealth aircraft (+ 2 back-up aircraft) to the Madison airport as a tactical aviation base will make life unbearable for a large number of Madison and other Wisconsin residents with excruciating noise levels, four times louder the current F-16 aircraft. F-35 engine emissions will cause thousands of tons of deadly pollution, and operations will pollute water with PFAS.  It will emit almost 50,00 tons of global warming causing carbon dioxide- at a cost of $44,000 per flight-hour.

The F-35 is expected to become capable of carrying nuclear weapons in 2024. It has 4 weapons stations that can carry up to 2,500 pounds of bombs each. The nuclear weapon it is capable of carrying is the variable-yield B61-12 (from 0.3 to 50 kiloton yields), can withstand supersonic speeds and each weighs about 800 pounds.   If the F-35 aircraft are loaded with B61-12 gravity bombs there could be multiple nuclear weapons stored in Wisconsin to be ready for use.   F-35 has poorly performing support systems and chronic problems due to the complexity of integrating digital and analog inputs- not a good candidate for such a powerful bomb.

It is the most expensive weapons program in history. In the next 25 years, the program is projected to be $428.4 billion, with an additional $1,196.4 billion for operating costs. The 3 versions of the F-35 have different costs- the F-35A procurement cost is $101 million each, the F-35B is over $166 million each and the F-35C is more than $123 million each. Add in $55.5 billion for F-35 research and development, and the costs are rising because the aircraft have failed to complete operational testing. The Pentagon will be requesting more money for all phases of the F-35. Production is beginning this year (2020) on 478 aircraft for US Armed Services and international weapons buyers, including Saudi Arabia. Wisconsin taxpayers pay over $200 million a year for the F-35 program. Lockheed Martin will make most of the F-35 money in annual non-competitive contracts, reaping billions ion profit for shareholders and paying CEO’s tens of millions in salaries.

The defense industry has placed a tactical aviation base or contractor or subcontractor in just about every district in the US, including Wisconsin, which affects the manufacturing and job base of those districts. This leads to our congressional representatives pushing for more funding to please lobbyists and to be re-elected. In Wisconsin, our Senator Tammy Baldwin has received substantial campaign contributions from Lockheed Martin and has led efforts to bring the F-35 to Wisconsin.

Madison peace activists, environmental groups and community members have been fighting for years against bringing the F-35 here. We are now in a 30 day waiting period after publication of the Final Environmental Impact Statement was issued on Feb, 28, 2020. Next will be the Record of Decision when the fate of stationing F-35’s will be announced, sometime after March 30, 2020. A Monitoring plan will then be prepared to address mitigation agreed to during the environmental review process, even though vast numbers of Madison residents haven’t agreed that any mitigation is acceptable. Let’s stand in solidarity- No F-35’s in Wisconsin!

Pamela Richard

Peace Action of WI
1001 E Keefe Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53212