Today the United States Air Force announced McConnell Air Force Base has advanced to the final round of the KC-46A Tanker Basing competition for the Main Operating Base (MOB) #1. McConnell AFB will compete against Altus AFB, Fairchild AFB, and Grand Forks AFB based on factors including location, facility requirements and existing facility availability. McConnell AFB has also advanced to the final round competing for the Formal Training Unit against Altus AFB. Nearby Forbes Field, in Topeka, Kansas, is a candidate for the Air National Guard-led MOB #2.
Currently, McConnell AFB is the largest tanker base in the country with 63 KC-135R tanker aircraft stationed there. If McConnell wins this competition, new KC-46As would start arriving in 2016. The base houses the Air Force's 22nd Air Refueling Wing, the Air Force Reserves' 931st Air Refueling Group, and the 184th Intelligence Wing of the Kansas Air National Guard.
Congressman Pompeo issued the following statement in response to the announcement:
"McConnell Air Force Base provides the perfect fit for the new KC-46A and would strengthen the base's long-term future here in the Air Capital of the World. Not only does McConnell have the world-class airmen, facilities, runways, and location that the Air Force needs, but it has an amazingly supportive community in Wichita, Derby and the entire South-Central Kansas region.
After reviewing the facility, geography and skilled workforce available, I'm confident McConnell AFB best meets the competition requirements set forth, and I hope the USAF makes the right decision by designating McConnell AFB as the Main Operating Base #1 for the new KC-46A tanker."
Congressman Pompeo is working with the Kansas Congressional Delegation, state and local elected officials, the Wichita Chamber, the Greater Wichita Economic Development Council, and Friends of McConnell to convince the Air Force to base the KC-46A tankers at McConnell AFB when the new planes are put into service.