The Air Force on Thursday announced the names of five candidate bases to host the second active duty-led wing of KC-46A Pegasus aerial tankers — Dover AFB, Del.; Fairchild AFB, Wash.; Grand Forks AFB, N.D.; Travis AFB, Calif.; and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
The installation selected wouldn’t start receiving the next generation air refueling tanker until fiscal 2020, according to a press release.
Air Mobility Command will soon conduct detailed, on-the-ground site surveys of each candidate base, assessing each location against operational requirements, potential impacts to existing missions, housing, infrastructure and manpower. The command also will develop cost estimates to bed down the KC-46A at each site. Air Force leadership then will select preferred and reasonable alternatives for the operating location. Officials plan to announce the second active duty-led KC-46A preferred alternative by the end of 2016.
“Bringing the KC-46A online is a critical first step in recapitalizing a tanker fleet that has been at the heart of global response for more than five decades,” said Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III. “This great new aircraft will achieve better mission-capable rates, suffer less maintenance downtime, and improve the U.S. military’s ability to respond rapidly to humanitarian crises and contingency operations around the world.”
Jennifer Miller, deputy assistant secretary for installations, stressed the importance of following the Air Force’s strategic basing process to create deliberate, repeatable and standardized decisions.
“In this process, the Air Force uses criteria-based analysis and military judgment,” said Miller. “We look forward to the next phase of the process when the preferred alternative is announced and our candidate base communities have an opportunity to participate by providing input for the environmental analysis.”