Air Guard Bases on List for KC-46A

(Jan. 10, 2012) Five Air National Guard bases are on the list to possibly be the first in the Guard to receive the KC-46A aerial tankers, according to a news release Wednesday from the Air Force.

Four active-component bases are candidates to be main operating bases for the new aircraft in the active-duty Air Force.

The Air Guard bases are Forbes Air Guard Station, Kan.; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.; Pease Air Guard Station, N.H.; Pittsburgh International Airport Air Guard Station, Pa.; and Rickenbacker Air Guard Station, Ohio.

The major commands will conduct detailed, on-the-ground site surveys of each candidate base. They will assess each location against operational training requirements, potential impacts to existing missions, housing, infrastructure and manpower, according to the release.

Additionally, they will develop cost estimates to bed down the KC-46A for each candidate base.

Once the site surveys are completed, the results will be briefed to the secretary of the Air Force and chief of staff of the Air Force to select preferred and reasonable alternatives. The service plans to announce preferred and reasonable alternatives and begin the environmental impact analysis in the spring.

“I want to stress that the KC-135 units not replaced with the KC-46A will continue to fly the KC-135R for the foreseeable future,” said Gen. Mark Welsh, III, the Air Force chief of staff.

The active-component bases on the candidate list are Altus Air Force Base, Okla.; Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.; Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.; and McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Altus and McConnell are both candidate bases for the KC-46A formal training unit.

The KC-46A is designed to replace by 2028 the 400 KC-135 and 59 KC-10 aircraft now performing the aerial refueling mission.