Air Force Assigns KC-46A Tanker Training To Altus Air Force Base

Wednesday, April 23rd 2014, 3:56 pm
By: Richard Clark

The U.S. Air Force has selected Altus Air Force Base as the training unit for its new KC-46A Pegasus aerial tanker.

Altus Air Force Base is located in Jackson County in far southwestern Oklahoma.

The Air Force selected McConnell Air Force Base near Wichita as the home of the first active-duty operating base for the new tanker.

The KC-46A tanker is built by Boeing based on the company's 767 airliner. Altus and McConnell will begin receiving KC-46A aircraft in fiscal year 2016.

In a news release, Air Force Deputy Secretary for Installations Timothy Bridges said Altus was selected as the formal training unit for the KC-46A because it provides great training opportunities. He said assigning KC-46A trainers to Altus made sense because the base already has a training wing.

Altus AFB also has better infrastructure capacity and requires considerably less new construction, Bridges added.

Both Altus and McConnell were selected as preferred alternatives in May 2013. The Air Force recently completed the environmental analysis required by the National Environmental Protection Act to provide further information concerning the basing process.

Air Force officials say they analyzed operational considerations, installation attributes, economic, and environmental factors for each location before making a final basing decision.

As the first KC-46As enter into service, older KC-135s will be retired or transferred. However, the Air Force will continue to fly some KC-135s at least until 2028.

The Air Force says the KC-46A will provide improved capability, including boom and drogue refueling on the same sortie, world-wide navigation and communication, airlift capability on the entire main deck floor, receiver air refueling, improved force protection and survivability, and multi-point air refueling capability.