WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and Congressman Steve Womack (R-AR) traveled to the Republic of Singapore to continue building relationships with the important U.S. ally as it prepares to relocate an F-16 squadron and train on F-35s at Ebbing Air National Guard Base.
“We want to ensure our partners feel welcome in our state and trust we will support their military personnel’s needs. Developing and strengthening this relationship is critical to ensuring global security. Arkansas welcomes the opportunity to give our allies the training and tools necessary to defend themselves and our shared interests while strengthening Ebbing Air National Guard Base’s role in our national defense and Indo-Pacific relations,” Boozman said.
“I was glad to travel to Singapore with Senator Boozman to deepen our strategic partnership and discuss ways to deter increasing threats from our adversaries. We got to shake the hands of our allies and thank them for trusting Ft. Smith to be the home of the Foreign Military Sales mission that will bring F-35 fighter planes and Singapore’s F-16 squadron to Ebbing Air National Guard Base. I look forward to welcoming the new U.S. Air Force personnel to the River Valley and continuing dialogue with our friends abroad,” Womack said.
U.S. Ambassador to Singapore Jonathan Kaplan, Senator John Boozman, Republic of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Congressman Steve Womack.
During the trip, the delegation met with the Republic of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and government leaders in trade, national security, the Chief of the Air Force, and visited U.S. military personnel deployed to the area.
Last month, the U.S. Air Force announced it selected Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith to host the future F-35 Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program that trains military personnel from allied nations on the only fifth-generation fighter jet in the world, as well as the new home for the 425th Fighter Squadron, a Republic of Singapore F-16 Fighting Falcon training unit currently based at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
Since the Air Force announced this site as a possible FMS site, the Arkansas Congressional Delegation has been tireless in its advocacy to secure this mission. Boozman, Womack and U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) secured $28 million in the Fiscal Year 2023 government funding package to support the F-35 FMS training in Arkansas.