F-35A night operations 4

An F-35A Lightning II taxis night flying operations at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, March 26, 2019. 

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The Air Force now says Hill Air Force Base’s risk for climate-related peril is not as dire as an earlier Department of Defense report may have made it seem.

Earlier this year, the DoD issued a report on how climate change could potentially impact the department, ranking military installations based on their likelihood of five climate-related hazards: recurrent flooding, wildfire, drought, desertification and thawing permafrost.

Of the 79 “mission-critical” United States military installations operating today, the Pentagon said Hill Air Force Base is the most at risk for negative impacts from climate change.

But the Secretary of the Air Force recently produced supplemental findings to the study, with a new “Top 10” list of Air Force bases deemed “susceptible to the consequences of severe weather events.”

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, the state’s only member of the Armed Services Committee, said he received a background paper detailing the list, which Hill is now absent from.

Bishop said the initial study omitted from consideration over 80% of U.S. Air Force Bases.

“This most recent study released by the Secretary of the Air Force evaluates a more complete listing of Air Force installations,” said an email from Bishop’s office. “Additional service-specific evaluations have been requested and are expected.”

The background paper says the previous list, by design, only included Air Force installations with “critical strategic infrastructure.”

The base’s Ogden Air Logistics Complex performs maintenance on all Air Force F-35s and has done work on the Navy and Marine variants of the jet as well. The complex maintains the F-22 Raptor, F-16 Fighting Falcon, A-10 Thunderbolt, C-130 Hercules and more.

Hill’s two fighter wings house the Air Force’s first operational F-35 combat fleet and will own 78 of the jets before 2019 is finished.

The base is also an integral part of the DoD’s “Ground-Based Strategic Deterrence” program, which aims to replace the Air Force’s fleet of nearly 400 Minuteman III nuclear missiles by about 2030.

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.

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