The Air Drive has selected MacDill Air Force Foundation in Florida instead than Fairchild Air Power Base to be home base for its up coming group of modern-day refueling tankers.
The Tuesday announcement by the Air Pressure claimed the determination to track down the up coming two dozen KC-46A Pegasus plane was manufactured immediately after using into account many criteria these as mission, neighborhood help, infrastructure, environmental effects and price tag.
The determination drew instant blowback from Washington’s congressional delegation, which had been pushing for Fairchild to be the sixth key running base for the KC-46A.
“As a single of the greatest air-refueling tanker bases in the region, Fairchild Air Pressure Foundation already possesses the needed capacity and means to accommodate KC-46A aerial refueling tankers – which make the Air Force’s conclusion not to residence the new KC-46A fleet at Fairchild all the far more inexplicable,” said U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat.
“I am amazingly dissatisfied with this decision,” she additional. “Let’s not mince words and phrases, the Air Pressure has made the erroneous decision.”
GOP Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers also claimed she was disappointed.
“While this is not the information we had been hoping for, I have no question that Fairchild will go on to serve as a heart of excellence for the KC-135 fleet and engage in a important part in refueling missions,” she said.
The new plane will change the KC-135 Stratotankers now in provider at MacDill Air Pressure Base.
A ultimate basing determination will be made subsequent an environmental effect evaluation, which is expected to occur in the tumble of 2023. The Air Pressure noted that Fairchild is thought of a “reasonable alternative,” and it also will undertake an environmental assessment.
Spokane leaders have been angling for decades to land the future-generation KC-46A tankers as the Air Drive slowly replaces its ageing fleet of KC-135s.
In January 2017, the Air Drive picked two bases – 1 in New Jersey and one in California – to receive the new KC-46A planes.
Later on that calendar year, drinking water wells in and all-around Fairchild ended up tested for perilous chemical substances made use of in firefighting foam. Lawsuits followed, which includes a single that accuses former foundation officers of working with the harmful foam recklessly.
Then in 2018, the Spokane Tribe opened a new casino in the vicinity of the base following beating again opposition from neighborhood leaders who nervous the spot was much too close and may well disrupt endeavours to preserve or increase Fairchild’s significance to the Air Power.
The KC-135 remains the spine of the Air Force’s refueling fleet, with hundreds of plane, including additional than 60 plane in 4 squadrons at Fairchild, which is regarded house to the premier refueling wing in the world.