Residents in Oak Bay could start to hear more rumbles from the naval air station station on Whidbey Island later this year.

After four years of planning, the U.S. Navy is deciding whether to increase the number of flights and number of Growlers at the naval air station. Thirty-six more Growler aircrafts could be added to the station for a total of 118.

Base officials are projecting 73,800 flights will be coming out of Ault Field in the next year. It’s currently estimated that 64,300 flights came out of Ault Field this past year. 

Naval Outlying Field Coupeville would see a nearly four-time increase from 6,120 to 23,700 flights per year.

“These aircraft are essential in electronic warfare and attack which is an emerging technology that develops rapidly every single day,” said Capt. Geoff Moore.

Whidbey Island is the perfect place to practice field carrier landings because it provides more realistic training, according to the navy. The training helps pilots practice landing on military vessels at sea.

“We understand that whatever alternative that we would pick would not please everyone,” said Ted Brown of U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

“We kind of have to be nice neighbours don’t we?” said Christine Robertson, who lives in Oak Bay. “If it’s bothering people in Canada then that’s something they should take into consideration.”

The navy is promising to research methods to reduce sound on Canadian soil and the decision to increase the fleet is not yet finalized. The navy plans to release an environmental-impact report before making its decision, this fall.