The U.S. Air Force has selected three preferred and six reasonable alternative locations for the training and operating bases related to a tanker aircraft designed to help USAF make quick responses and support allied forces.
USAF picked Altus Air Force Base, Okla. as the preferred alternative for KC-46A training unit, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. for the duty-led main operating base and the Pease Air Guard Station, N.H. for the Air National Guard’s main operating base, the Air Force said Wednesday.
Timothy Bridges, Air Force’s deputy assistant secretary for installations, said USAF based the selection on operational analysis, survey results and military judgment factors.
The reasonable alternatives for training are Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Forbes Air Guard Station, Kan.; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.; Pittsburgh International Airport Air Guard Station, Pa. and Rickenbacker Air Guard Station, Ohio for main operating bases.
The training unit and the first main operating base, as well as the second main operating base will receive aircraft in fiscal 2016 and 2018, respectively.
The KC-46A will help the Air Force refuel the boom and drogue on similar strike, navigate and communicate, airlift, air refuel and enhance protection and survivability, the USAF said.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III said 179 KC-46A aircraft would replace more than 400 KC-135 and 59 KC-10 in three phases, with the first phase slated for completion in fiscal 2028.
“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,” Welsh said.
Bridges added the USAF started analyzing the environmental impact last April.
“Once the requirements of the environmental impact analysis process are complete, the Air Force will make its final basing decision,” he said.