The first Active Duty-led KC-46A main operating base will be located at McConnell AFB, Kan., and the formal Pegasus training unit will be based at Altus AFB, Okla., announced the Air Force Wednesday. “Making a final basing decision is an important step in recapitalizing the tanker fleet,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. “We will begin to replace our aging tanker fleet in 2016, but even when the program is complete in 2028, we will have replaced less than half of the current tanker fleet and will still be flying over 200 half-century-old KC-135 (Stratotankers).” Both bases were selected as USAF’s preferred alternatives in May 2013, pending the results of an environmental analysis, which was recently completed. At the time, USAF also announced it had selected Pease AGS, N.H., as the preferred site for the first Air National Guard KC-46A main operating base. An official decision on that, however, is expected this summer, with the first ANG aircraft scheduled to arrive in Fiscal 2018, states the April 23 release. “I am proud of the airmen at McConnell for earning this mission based on their excellent record of service,” said Sen. Pat Roberts in a joint statement with Sen. Jerry Moran and Rep. Mike Pompeo, all Republicans from Kansas.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.