Selfridge a finalist to house new F-35 fighter

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The F-35 / Credit: George Frey, Getty Images

Officials from the U.S. Air Force visited Selfridge Air National Guard base, today.

F-35 fighter jets, the U.S. military's newest fighter aircraft could be calling Selfridge in Macomb County, home.

"Fortunately for me, a county executive, this has been an easy lift," said Mark Hackel, Macomb County executive. "Knowing that the general on this base has a tremendous interest in getting those F-35s here because he understands the strategic mission."

Selfridge is one of five national finalists. Air Force bases in Alabama, Idaho, Florida and Wisconsin are also being considered. Ultimately two out of the five will be chosen.

So what exactly is the F-35?

"It is a multi-role, it is designed to do a bit of everything," said Brigadier Gen. John D. Slocum. "What it does is it brings what we call low observability. So it is very difficult for the bad guys to detect. It has advanced sensor capabilities so you can see a long way.

"Then it also has the ability to cooperate with other platforms. It really is in a lot of ways a cyber-platform at the same time."

Housing the F-35s will not only elevate Selfridge to the next level, it will be a big win economically to Macomb County.

"This is going to be an advantage for job creation here in Macomb County," Hackel said. "One that we already have."

The decision should be made late summer or early fall. The first F-35 would be here within the next five years.