The Air Force on Wednesday announced the candidate bases to host the KC-46A tanker schoolhouse as well as the new tanker’s first two main operating locations. Altus AFB, Okla., and McConnell AFB, Kan., are the candidates to host the KC-46A formal training unit, according to the service’s Jan. 9 release. Altus, Fairchild AFB, Wash., Grand Forks AFB, N.D., and McConnell are the candidate locations for the first Active Duty-led KC-46A main operating base (MOB 1), states the release. Meanwhile, Forbes AGS, Kan., JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., Pease AGS, N.H., Pittsburgh International Airport AGS, Pa., and Rickenbacker AGS, Ohio, are the candidate places for the first Air National Guard-led KC-46A main operating base (MOB 2). As the next step in the selection process, the Air Force will conduct detailed site surveys at each candidate base and develop cost estimates for the beddown process at each. Based on that data, the Air Force plans to announce the preferred locations and reasonable alternatives in the spring and begin the mandatory environmental impact studies. The FTU and MOB 1 are scheduled to begin receiving KC-46s in Fiscal 2016, while MOB 2 is expected to get its airplanes in Fiscal 2018, states the release.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.