Today the United States Air Force announced the selection of both Forbes Airfield in Topeka and McConnell Air Force Base (AFB) in Wichita as finalists for the basing of the KC-46A tanker program. Forbes Airfield is a finalist for one of two Main Operating Bases competing against other Air National Guard-led, Active Association bases. Congresswoman Jenkins released the following statement after the announcement:
"Last August, I met with Kansas National Guard 190th Air Refueling Wing leadership and was advised about this possibility. I am very pleased to receive confirmation that Forbes Field is indeed a strong candidate for the new KC-46A air-refueling tanker. Kansans play an essential role in our national defense and Forbes Field's ideal, central location, exemplary personnel, and capable facilities make it an excellent choice as the Air Force updates its missions. I applaud the decision, and look forward to the potential final outcome with regards to the future sustainability and viability of the 190th as they continue to serve in this critical role."
Due to rising costs, the United States Air Force has made transitioning from 50-year-old KC-135 tankers to KC-46A tankers a top priority. The 190th Air Refueling Wing stationed at Forbes Field has provided air-refueling capabilities since 1978, and currently flies the KC-135R Stratotanker air-refueling tanker.