In the News
January 31, 2020
By Heather Hope
F-35 jet will be the most advanced strike fighter, but community members are concerned about possible noise.
SAN DIEGO — A new breed of fighter jets arrived at MCAS Miramar, but it brings noise concerns for the people who live near the flight path in the Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch and UTC areas.
“It's always been known as fighter town, the home of 'Top Gun,' but it's been all that and more. We step out with the F-35, which was truly designed and bred to be the apex aviation platform ever designed and ever to operate,” said Maj Gen. Kevin Iiams, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Commanding General.
The F-35 is touted to be the most advanced strike fighter for the Marine Corp and Navy, and the Lightning II has been on base for 10 days.
“This represents another generation of elite, not only in our national defense capabilities, but also in the types of airplanes that we fly around Miramar,” said MCAS Miramar Commanding Officer Col. Charles Dockery.
Elected officials got a chance to see how it will be used from the simulator to the cockpit operated by Lockheed Martin.
“Even though it's a simulator, it's still a little nerve-wracking, and I had my coach next to me,” said Rep. Scott Peters, (D-CA 52).
Peters got to check out the twists and turns and said $300 million went into the overall effort.
“When I was on the Armed Services committee in my first two terms, this is one of my projects that I fought for to get airfield improvements, new hangars, and training facilities to prepare for this new fighter jet. This is about defending the country, so we know that our adversaries are advancing technologically and so are we,” Peters said.
Community members are worried about possible increased noise. Capt. Matthew Gregory, the Director of Communications MCAS Miramar, said overall noise from the base will actually decrease.
In a new AICUZ study, or Air Installation Compatible Use Zones study, the base analyzed the impact that operations could have on the community and said the F-35 will sound a tad louder on takeoff than an F-18. However, it will be at least 10 decibels quieter for its landing.
"While it's going to sound different and people are going to see it in the air and notice the difference because it has a higher pitch than the 2-engine aircraft that we've been flying for well over 30 years here, there's almost no discernible noise difference,” Gregory said.
Iiams said the aircraft is expected to be a game-changer in technology with its sensor fusion, low observability and multi-platform integration.
“This aircraft enables seamless information exchanges with platforms, both on the surface, the subsurface air and space, making every warrior and asset in the battlespace more lethal, more survivable and smarter than we ever have been before,” Iiams said.
Iiams said the F-35 “should give those who intend to oppose us very grave concern.”
Although locals will still see a large fleet of F-18s lined up and in operation at the base, Gregory said within the next 10 years, the model will be phased out and replaced with F-35 Cs. At least 12 will be in a fleet at MCAS Miramar for training before they are deployed in late 2021.