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Fort Smith passes $5 million runway extension project at 188th Wing

It's part of the plan to bring the Singapore jets to the 188th.

FORT SMITH, Arkansas — Fort Smith City Directors passed an ordinance on Tuesday (June 15) committing $5 million to help pay for a runway extension project at the 188th Wing.

It's part of the plan to bring the Singapore jets to the 188th in a few years.

Fort Smith has been selected as a pilot training center for the U.S. military's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) hosting F-35 and F-16 fighter planes purchased by Singapore.

Up to 36 aircraft will be part of the center, with F-16’s of the Republic of Singapore 425th Fighter Squadron arriving in 2023 and the advanced F-35’s in 2026.

“Fighter jets will return to the Arkansas River Valley, thanks to years of hard work by the Fort Smith community, our federal delegation, and the governor. Singapore’s F-16s and future F-35s will make good use of Arkansas’s strong workforce and excellent facilities. We’re all grateful that the Air Force and our friends from Singapore have chosen Fort Smith for this vital new national security mission,” U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton said.

The runway at the base needs to be extended by 1,300 feet, which will cost around $22 million. 

Arkansas will put up $17 million to complete the rest of the runway extension. 

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