? Construction commenced at Altus AFB, Okla., for the facilities that will be part of the schoolhouse for the Air Force’s new KC-46A tanker, according to a base release. “The mighty 97th looks forward to training on our newest tanker and assisting the Air Force in meeting future warfighter needs,” said Col. Bill Spangenthal, 97th Air Mobility Wing commander, at the Aug. 7 groundbreaking ceremony. The $56 million construction project includes a flight training center, fuselage training facility, new aircraft hangars, and renovations for a combined squadron operations and aircraft maintenance unit facility, states the release. KC-46 training is slated to begin at Altus in 2016, with the goal of instructing some 475 aircrew each year once the training mission is fully operational by 2023, states the release. The Air Force plans to acquire 179 KC-46s by 2028 to replace its oldest KC-135 tankers. (See also Preparing for Pegasus.)
Rumored cuts to the F-35 from the fiscal 2025 defense budget—six from Air Force plans—would not be offset by recent Foreign Military Sales, and will disrupt ongoing Lot 19 negotiations, Pentagon and industry sources said.