Marines Sending 96 New 'Joint Strike Fighters' to Miramar

By Eric S. Page and Susan Taylor
|  Thursday, Dec 9, 2010  |  Updated 5:16 PM PDT
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Marines Sending 96 New 'Joint Strike Fighters' to Miramar

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A new high-tech, high priced fighter jet may soon be taking to the skies at MCAS Miramar, and not everyone is happy about it.

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The military plans to put 400 of the Marine Corps' new vertical take-off F-35B fighter jets at four installations, including MCAS Miramar.

Navy documents released Thursday by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham's office stated that some 96 jets will be based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and up to 128 of the stealthy futuristic jets will be based in Cherry Point, N.C. Eighty-eight 88 aircraft and a training unit will go to Beaufort, S.C., and 88 will go to Yuma, Ariz.

The jets will begin arriving in phases starting in 2012, according to the documents.

The jets are replacing aging F/A-18s Hornets, AV-8B Harrier jump jets and E/A-6 Prowlers.

According to military officials, airfield operations at Miramar would decrease by roughly 17 percent, and fewer nearby residents would be affected by jet noise.

Critics, however, argue that the F-35's are a safety risk to heavily populated nearby neighborhoods and will still be way too loud.  Critics cite a crash that took place in 2008 when an F/A 18 Hornet slammed into a University City home, killing Don Yoon's wife, two baby daughters, and mother-in-law. Wednesday was the two-year anniversary of that crash.

The jet was heading to MCAS Miramar when its engines died. In March of 2009, a Marine investigation determined that the pilot should have landed at NAS North Island. It also concluded that the Hornet should have been removed from service when mechanics realized it had a fuel problem.

Four leaders of the squadron were relieved of duty. Yoon is suing the U.S. government and Boeing, which makes the Hornet, for negligence.

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