On Tuesday September 11th, Congressmen Jon Runyan (NJ-03) and Chris Smith (NJ-04) continued their efforts to support the selection of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB MDL) as one of the initial sites for basing the Air Force's new tanker refueling aircraft by leading a bi-partisan New Jersey Congressional Delegation letter highlighting the benefits the installation provides.
Earlier this year, the Air Force released its criteria for selecting the first three bases that will host the service's next-generation KC-46A tankers. Since that time, Reps. Runyan and Smith have met and worked with local officials and the Air Force to ensure that New Jersey is presenting the best case for gaining this mission.
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst was selected as one of the bases that met the initial selection criteria and the Air Force is expected to announce final selections within the week.
"Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst has the best assets to make it the right location to base new KC-46A tanker aircraft," said Congressman Runyan. "Additionally, by basing these new tankers at JB MDL, there would be a monetary savings to the Air Force and Department of Defense. And given our country's current financial situation, any cost savings should be welcomed."
"JB MDL's existing infrastructure, trained personnel and strategic location are unmatched among installations in the Northeast and our airmen remain ready and able to accept this mission," Smith said. "As the nation's only tri-service installation and a leader in air mobility, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst represents the ideal location for the KC-46A tankers."
Ultimately, the Air Force plans to establish up to 10 main operating bases for the service's 179 KC-46A tankers, which are meant to replenish the aging tanker fleet, which include some KC-135 aircrafts that are over 50 years old.
"As a delegation, we are continuing our efforts to ensure the Air Force is aware of how Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is a strategic location to continue to support the air refueling mission," Congressman Runyan summarized.