- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 5, 2016

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Air National Guard says it’s going to take delivery of its first F-35 fighter planes in 2019, a year earlier than originally planned.

The Vermont Guard said Monday that moving up the arrival of the first of 18 planes will give the Air Force more time to train maintenance crews for active Air Force units that will be receiving the F-35s.

Air Force Lt. Gen. John Cooper says delivering F-35s to the Vermont Guard at the Burlington International Airport in South Burlington will allow the Air Force to take advantage of Vermont’s experienced aircraft maintenance personnel.

The F-35s will replace the Vermont guard’s aging F-16 aircraft.

A number of local residents have sued to prevent the Air Force from stationing the F-35s in Burlington. The suit is pending.

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