Fairchild to Receive More KC-135s, Reactivate Squadron as KC-46s Come Online

KC-135 Stratotankers sit on the flight line on Feb. 20, 2018, at McConnell AFB, Kan. Air Force photo by SrA. Jenna Caldwell.

The Air Force is restructuring its KC-135 fleet as it brings on more KC-46s, moving 12 of the legacy tankers from McConnell AFB, Kan., to Fairchild AFB, Wash.

The service recently announced the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild will be the new home to the KC-135s beginning in fiscal 2020, a shift that will add 1,000 airmen and families to the base, according to a Fairchild release.

The move will necessitate the reactivation of Fairchild’s 97th Air Refueling Squadron, which was inactivated in 2004, and related maintenance unit.

“Fairchild is the perfect fit for these new tankers because of our demonstrated capability to provide responsive air refueling across the globe,” Col. Derek Salmi, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, said in the release. “Through hard work and dedication, our airmen have established Fairchild as the Air Refueling Center of Excellence and we will continue to carry forth this legacy as the world’s largest tanker wing.”

McConnell will be the first main operating base for the KC-46.