The Tucson Lightning campaign was launched to bring the new F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, to the Arizona Air National Guard's 162nd Fighter Wing at Tucson International Airport.

The 162nd Fighter Wing is currently the largest Air National Guard F-16 training base in the country, and the Air Force is planning to begin replacing its fleet of F-16s with the new F-35 Lightning II within the next few years.

Through the Tucson Lightning campaign, state and local government and business leaders plan to generate support from citizens living in every city and town in Southern Arizona in order to position the region and the state as strong supporters of the F-35 training mission with the nation's decision makers in Washington, D.C.

The Tucson Lightning campaign is a statewide initiative as Arizona's military industry represents one of the largest industries in the state and generates more than $9 billion in economic impact annually to Arizona. With more than 60 F-16 Fighting Falcons among three flying squadrons, the 162nd Fighter Wing is the largest ANG fighter wing in the country. Approximately 1,440 people work at the base. About 1,000 are full-time employees and the balance are traditional Guardsmen providing forces in support of wartime operations. Its economic impact to the state of Arizona is $280 million annually.

Residents will be learning about Tucson Lightning through a variety of ways - the creation of a new TucsonLightning Web site, a speaker's bureau, presentations to business organizations, advertising, and email "blasts" to residents.

The focal point of the campaign is the new TucsonLightning Web site, where residents living throughout Arizona can register their support of the F-35 mission coming to Tucson International Airport.

Arizona's federal delegation in Washington D.C., Governor Jan Brewer and individual cities and towns throughout Arizona have come out in strong support of basing the F-35 training mission at Tucson International Airport.

The Tucson Lightning campaign was developed by the 162nd Fighter Wing Minuteman Committee to generate awareness and support of the positive impacts this next generation strike fighter will bring to Tucson and Arizona. The 162nd Fighter Wing Minuteman Committee president, Tim Amalong, is the chairman of the Tucson Lightning Campaign.

The 162nd Fighter Wing Minuteman Committee, established in 1993, is a group of Tucson business and community leaders who volunteer their time and resources to support the 162nd's mission to train tomorrow's fighter pilots.