The Air Force on Wednesday affirmed its selection of Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H., as its first main operating base for the KC-46A led by an Air National Guard unit, after completing the environmental analysis required by the National Environmental Policy Act.
Officials had selected Pease as their preferred alternative in May 2013 after assessing operational considerations, installation attributes, and economic and environmental factors.
“The Air Force chose this base using operational analysis, results of site surveys and military judgment factors,” Timothy Bridges, deputy assistant secretary for installations, said in a press release.
Pease emerged as the first Air National Guard-led main operating base for the next generation tanker because of its highly successful existing active-duty association, an arrangement which would result in reduced active-duty manpower requirements. Its location in a region with a high demand from aircraft requiring air refueling also was a critical factor, according to the release.
Officials believe the base’s selection will minimize the challenge of fielding a new aircraft and allow the service to avoid simultaneously establishing a new active association. The first aircraft are scheduled to begin arriving at Pease beginning in fiscal year 2018.
New Hampshire Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Kelly Ayotte (R) welcomed the news, which they said underscored the 157th Air Refueling Wing’s exceptional record of service. Since 2011, the lawmakers have used letters, meetings, and Armed Service Committee hearings to advocate for Pease and the 157th Air Refueling Wing to receive the KC-46A, according to a joint press release.