ANCHORAGE -

Alaska has made the cut as a possible home to the Air Force's newest fighter jet.

The Pentagon announced Tuesday that the list of prospective bases to house the F-35 stealth fighter jet has been whittled down from eight to five. Among the finalists are Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage and Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks.

The Pentagon says it plans to locate 48 of the stealth jets somewhere in the Pacific region.

A spokesman for Senator Lisa Murkowski says along with the fighters, will come more than 500 pilots, mechanics and support crew.

The Pentagon plans to begin site visits on March 10. According to Murkowski's office, no date has been set yet for inspections at the Alaska bases.

Following the inspections, the Pentagon is expected to choose a preferred site to deploy the jets and two alternative sites. A final decision on where the F-35 is to be based will be made sometime next year.

News about Eielson being considered as a location comes about two years after the Air Force decided to move a squadron of F-16 fighter jets from the Interior to JBER.

Murkoswski spokesman Matthew Felling noted the list of eligible locations was cut from eight to five with the remaining U.S. candidates announced both Alaskan.

"By the fact they’re international bases, and we already know the US locations, that by definition eliminates Guam and Hawaii as possible locations," Felling said.

The remaining international locations remain classified by the Air Force

Fairbanks officials and Alaska's congressional delegation fought the move, claiming it would devastate the Fairbanks economy. The Air Force eventually cancelled the move.