U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.-3) today praised the decision from the U.S. Air Force to base the first Formal Training Unit (FTU) for the KC-46 air refueling tanker at Altus Air Force Base (AFB) in Altus, Okla. The new training mission will bring eight aircraft to Altus AFB, new military construction, and additional jobs for maintenance and technical support.
"Today's announcement by the Air Force is a welcome piece of good news for Oklahoma," said Inhofe. "It confirms what I have known, what the people of Altus know, and what the Airmen at Altus Air Force base know, there is no better place to train future KC-46A students than Altus AFB. This decision will have a positive impact on Oklahoma and the city of Altus for decades to come. I am proud of the communities of Altus and the surrounding area for doing what Oklahoma does best, take care of our military. I am also proud of our past and present Altus commanders, and our military and civilian personnel that have made Altus AFB a premier location to work, train and live."
"I am delighted the Air Force has chosen Altus Air Force Base as the KC-46A Formal Training Unit location," said Congressman Frank Lucas. "I am proud of the men and women at this base who have worked hard to make Altus the best option for the KC-46A FTU. Altus Air Force Base is equipped with exceptional air and ramp space, and is surrounded by a community devoted to their mission. For over 70 years, Altus AFB has played a critical role in providing for the common defense of our great nation, and we are excited to see that mission expand with the announcement of the KC-46A bed down at Altus. Additionally, the KC-46A program will provide an economic benefit to the city of Altus by creating additional jobs. It is always encouraging to see projects like this create economic growth in Oklahoma's Third Congressional District."
Chairman of the Altus Military Affairs Committee Dr. Joe Leverett added, "We are elated that through the Air Force strategic basing process, Altus Air Force Base has been competitively selected as the KC-46A Formal Training Unit location. The Altus Military Affairs Committee and the community stand ready to support the United States Air Force in providing superior training and global reach for our service members. As a committee and community, we have enthusiastically prepared for the opportunity to receive the Next Generation Tanker training mission and demonstrate the assets Southwest Oklahoma offers our airmen. We take great pride as a location that has airspace, ramp space, and a community that loves the United States Air Force. As the Chairman of the Military Affairs Committee, I am grateful for the tremendous support to Altus from Senator Jim Inhofe and his persistent work with the Senate Armed Services Committee, Oklahoma delegation, and the United States Air Force throughout the KC-46A basing process. I would also like to thank the members of the Military Affairs Committee for their work to support our base. I believe that support is one of the key reasons for this decision.
"The City of Altus in partnership with the Altus Military Affairs Committee is honored to be a part of the KC-46A Formal Training Unit bed down at Altus Air Force Base," said Altus Mayor David Webb. "Throughout the entire basing process, I have been overwhelmed by the support from Senator Jim Inhofe and his team. As Oklahomans, we are proud to have Senator Inhofe as our senior Senator and greatly appreciate his ability to unite defense related issues across the Oklahoma delegation. As a community we will work meticulously to provide our military partners and the KC-46A team our full support. The Altus community is very proud of their partnership with the base and both appreciate and enjoy the diversity the Air Force brings to Southwest Oklahoma. I look forward to the arrival of the KC-46A team and the opportunity to work with base leadership in such a critical phase for our national defense. On behalf of the citizens of Altus, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to demonstrate our support of the United States Air Force and training the best airmen in the world."
The 179 planned KC-46A aircraft are in the first phase of a 3-phase effort to replace more than 59 KC-10s and the Air Force's primary refueling aircraft for over 50 years, 400 KC-135s. This first phase of tanker recapitalization will complete deliveries in 2028. With more refueling capacity and enhanced capabilities, improved efficiency and increased capabilities for cargo and aeromedical evacuation, the KC-46A will provide aerial refueling support to the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as allied nation coalition force aircraft.
Altus AFB was selected as the prime candidate for the FTU based on key Air Force criteria to include exiting facilities, hangers, runway, and parking apron, as well as ability to provide ground and flight training for all future KC-46A students. Altus AFB should begin receiving KC-46s in Fiscal Year 2016 and begin student training the same year.
The KC-135 and C-17 training and operations will also continue at Altus AFB with no change in throughput.