FORT SMITH, Ark. — We’re getting a look at the training that will soon be coming to Fort Smith’s 188th Wing Air National Guard.
In June, the Airforce announced the city and base were selected as the site for a new pilot training center.
5NEWS photojournalist Kylee Kain spoke to lawmakers and shows us what some of the training looks like.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our community,” said Congressman Steve Womack.
Womack, alongside the aerospace company, Lockheed Martin unveiled a training simulation that's making its way to Fort Smith, providing security and growth to the area.
Representative Womack, alongside other state officials, was able to get a hands-on look at the F-35 simulator.
The simulator that was viewed, was an opportunity for city leaders to see exactly what the airbase in Fort Smith has to look forward to.
Fort Smith was selected for the training center for foreign military sales amongst several airbases vying for the spot
“This is part of the current strategic equation in keeping us safe here,” said Lt. Governor Tim Griffin.
National security isn’t the only impact that it will have on the River Valley, Womack says an opportunity like this also provides significant economic growth for the area.
“We’re creating jobs and opportunities, economic vitality for our state, and the fact that it's an enduring mission, we can see this mission going for decades shows what an opportunity this is,” Womack said.
With that growth for our military and our residents, Womack says he has hopes that the most significant impact is on our future.
“Everything we do is to benefit that next generation of young people who are counting on us to do this right,” said Womack.
Womack says that they have to go through significant environmental approval over the next 18 months before we can see this training come to Fort Smith.