Notice of intent for Environmental Impact Statement for T-7A recapitalization at Laughlin

  • Published
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Department of the Air Force (DAF) is conducting public scoping for its proposal to recapitalize the T-38C Talon flight training program at Laughlin Air Force Base (AFB) with T-7A Red Hawk aircraft. The proposal supports the Secretary of the Air Force’s strategic basing decisions to recapitalize existing T-38C pilot training installations, and Laughlin AFB would be the third installation to be environmentally analyzed for possible recapitalization. The purpose of this proposal is to continue the T-7A recapitalization program by recapitalizing Laughlin AFB to prepare pilots to operate the more technologically advanced T-7A aircraft. Recapitalization is needed because the current training practices with the older T-38C aircraft fail to prepare pilots for the technological advancements of fourth and fifth generation aircraft. Recapitalization entails introduction of T-7A aircraft and flight operations at Laughlin AFB and associated airspace to replace all T-38C aircraft assigned to the installation; introduction of nighttime (between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.) T-7A flight operations; changes to the number of personnel and dependents in the Laughlin AFB region; and construction and upgrade of support and maintenance facilities.

Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, DAF is preparing an EIS, which will assess the potential environmental consequences of the Proposed Action and alternatives for the T-7A recapitalization at Laughlin AFB. DAF is considering three alternatives to the Proposed Action and the No Action Alternative. For Alternative 1, Laughlin AFB would receive 63 T-7A aircraft and perform sufficient operations for sustaining pilot training while simultaneously phasing out the T 38C aircraft and phasing in the T 7A aircraft. Alternative 2 also would result in 63 T-7A aircraft being delivered to Laughlin AFB; however, T-7A operations would be performed at an intensity approximately 25 percent greater than Alternative 1 to cover a potential scenario in which DAF requires a surge or increase in pilot training operations above the current plan. For Alternative 3, Laughlin AFB would receive 79 T 7A aircraft to cover a potential scenario in which another military installation is unable to accept delivery of all their T-7A aircraft and some of those aircraft need to be permanently reassigned to Laughlin AFB. T-7A operations for Alternative 3 would be performed at an intensity identical to Alternative 2. The No Action Alternative would not implement T-7A recapitalization at Laughlin AFB.

DAF encourages interested local, state, and federal elected officials and agencies, as well as interested members of the public and others, to participate in public scoping for the proposal and assist DAF in identifying issues to evaluate in the EIS.

DAF has scheduled a virtual public scoping meeting on Wednesday February 8, 2023 from 5:30 to 8:00 P.M. (Central Time). At the meeting, the DAF will offer a presentation about the proposal, followed by a question and answer session.

A link to the on-line public scoping meeting has been provided on the project website ( allowing interested parties to register to attend the remote public scoping meeting. Individuals without internet access may call (469) 210-7159 and use the passcode 2496 910 3882 to attend.

The website provides posters, a presentation, an informational brochure, other meeting materials, and a capability for the public to provide public scoping comments. Scoping materials are also available in print at the Val Verde County Library (300 Spring Street, Laughlin, Texas). Requests for printed scoping materials may be made to Mr. Nolan Swick at 210-925-3392 or at the addresses below.

DAF welcomes comments, suggestions, and relevant information on the proposal. Please submit comments by visiting, emailing, or sending via postal mail to the following address:

Mr. Nolan Swick, AFCEC/CZN

Attn: JBSA T-7A Recapitalization EIS

Headquarters Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

100 H. East Street., Suite 4

Randolph AFB, TX 78150              

To ensure DAF has sufficient time to consider public input in the Draft EIS process, public comments must be received or postmarked by February 17, 2023.