T-2 training jets remain at NAS Meridian
By By William F. West / community editor
July 18, 2002
Naval Air Station Meridian and its supporters learned Wednesday that T-2 jet aircraft will remain in place, saving area jobs and strengthening NAS' training mission.
The news came as a U.S. Senate subcommittee approved funding for a variety of defense-related projects in east Mississippi.
The Navy trains jet fighter pilots with the T-2 and the more modern T-45 jet aircraft at NAS Meridian and Kingsville, Texas, located just south of Corpus Christi.
McDonald said he and other team members had been hearing for four to six months that NAS Meridian could potentially lose the T-2 program to Kingsville.
Pickering, the Republican 3rd District congressman, said Wednesday he received a commitment from the leader of the Naval Air Training Command, Rear Adm. John E. Boyington, that the T-2 will stay in Meridian.
McDonald said he understood that the Navy had considered moving "15 somebody said 20 airplanes, and, I've heard, from 100 to 200 people."
Navy plans call for eventually replacing T-2s with T-45s. McDonald said that NAS Meridian has the newest T-45s in the fleet and receives a new one every month.
The Senate Appropriations subcommittee on defense approved a multi-billion-dollar measure with the following projects in East Mississippi:
F-22 Raptor Fighter Aircraft, $4.06 billion provides funding for 23 F-22 fighters. Major sub-assemblies of the F-22 are produced at the Lockheed
Martin facility in Meridian;
ECP-583 Marine Corps F/A-18+ Avionics Upgrade, $25 million the funds were added for new avionics hardware, allowing the older F/A-18A to process and utilize updated versions of the F/A-18C/D software and accessories. Raytheon in Forest builds this equipment.
APG-63 F-15 radar, $7.5 million the funds were added for the Air Force F-15 APG-63 (v)1 improved radar built by Raytheon in Forest.
AN/AL-67 (v) 3&4 Countermeasures Set, $5 million money was added for the Air Force F-15 missile countermeasures set built by Raytheon in Forest.
APG-73 F/A-18 radar, $6 million funds were added for the Marine Corps F/A-18 improved radar built by Raytheon in Forest.
National Guard Counter-Drug Support, $35 million funds were included for National Guard counter-drug operations.