Fresno roars over Air Force award of next-gen fighter jets

A concerted effort to bring cutting edge fighters for Fresno’s 144th Fighter Wing has hit paydirt, the Air Force announced.

The Fresno Air National Guard Base will soon be home to some of the newest fighter jets. 

Driving the news: Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer announced Wednesday that the Air Force has selected the Fresno Air National Guard Base to receive the new F-15EX Strike Eagles jets. 


  • The new squadron of 18 F-15EXs will replace the F-15C/D Eagles currently housed at the base. 
  • The move comes after considerable lobbying by Dyer and members of the California Congressional delegation, led by Reps. Jim Costa (D–Fresno) and David Valadao (R–Hanford).

The backstory: The F-15EX Strike Eagle fighter jet made its debut in the Air Force two years ago and has a maximum speed of 1,650 miles per hour and a combat range of 791 miles. 

State of play: According to Dyer, the Air Force’s decision to give Fresno the F-15 EXs came after conducting a site survey, which was focused on the base’s ability to facilitate mission and infrastructure capacity. 

What we’re watching: The Air Force is required to conduct an environmental impact analysis before delivering the jets to Fresno. 

  • The environmental analysis is expected to be completed in spring 2024. 

What they’re saying: “I’m extremely passionate about the 144th Fighter Wing and the pride it brings to Fresno,” Dyer said. “We’ve been happy to advocate for the 144th, and we are beyond excited to have this incredible asset added to our base, while also keeping jobs and people here. It’s an honor to have this squadron based in Fresno and defending the entire western United States.”

  • Rep. Jim Costa (D–Fresno) said he was pleased to see the AIr Force’s commitment to the 144th Fighter Wing by replacing the aging jets with the advanced F-15EX aircraft. 
  • “I worked very hard with my Valley colleagues and the Fresno Mayor to get these fighters for the 144th to ensure it can continue executing its mission to defend the West Coast,” Costa said. “This investment shows the Air Force recognizes the critical role of the 144th in protecting US National Security in the Indo-Pacific and here at home.” 
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