Belle Chasse base to receive 18 brand new F-15 fighter jets

Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 11:15 PM CDT
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BELLE CHASSE (WVUE) - New investment by the federal government into the Belle Chasse naval air facility has excited leaders both on base and in the community.

Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Belle Chasse will receive 18 new F-15EX Eagle IIs, one of only three facilities selected nationwide to be given the new fighter jets.

The Louisiana Air National Guard 159th Fighter Wing will operate the new jets, part of a network of Air Force units tasked with 24/7 protection of the nation’s air space.

“It’s an acknowledgment that it’s of a value to the Air Force to continue that legacy of excellence here in Belle Chasse, Louisiana,” said Col. Jonathan Mumme, Wing Commander of the 159th Fighter Wing.

Mumme said the new jets will replace the aging fleet of F-15Cs and F-15Ds on base, which are either approaching or over 40 years old.

He said the aging aircraft have become costly to maintain, many of which are older than the workers doing the maintenance.

A slew of state and local public officials, military leaders, and non-profits were calling on the federal government for new investment into Belle Chasse.

“We’ve been working for years to get the next generation of fighter jets stationed at Belle Chasse,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. or GNO Inc.

“It’s a recognition that defending the Gulf of Mexico is important to the United States of America because that is the prime mission of this base.”

Hecht said for years, the age of the fleet of F-15s has caused leaders and the community to be concerned about the future of the base. But that fear has evaporated with this news.

“There is a commitment from the United States government to Belle Chasse and the Joint Naval Base for years and years to come,” Hecht said.

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