Pease breaks ground for KC-46 hangars

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Curtis J. Lenz
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on base Sept. 18 to mark the start of the KC-46A Hangar Expansion and Modernization Project.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte as well as The Adjutant General of the N.H. National Guard Maj. Gen. William N. Reddel III and 157th Air Refueling Wing Commander Col. Shawn "Rob" Burrus" spoke at the event. 

"It's your skill, your hard work and your devotion to our nation's defense that is bringing the KC-46A to New Hampshire," Gov. Hassan said during remarks to those in attendance. "You've distinguished yourselves as one of the most accomplished operations group in the country and you are a great source of pride for the people of New Hampshire."

The hangars, built in the 1950s, were originally built to support Strategic Air Command's B-47 Stratojet bombers and KC-97 Stratofreighter tankers.

The intent of the project is to remodel Buildings 253 and 254 to maximize the operational space in order to promote efficiency and productivity in preparation for the arrival of 12 KC-46A tankers in February 2018.

"Today's groundbreaking represents a significant milestone in that path to fielding the new tanker, and once again reflects the collective hard work of our state leaders, our congressional delegation as well as their dedicated staff, local leaders, and outstanding 157th members," Burrus said.

Air Force officials last year announced that Pease ANGB was selected as the first Air National Guard-led KC-46A main operating base because of its highly successful existing active-duty association, which would lead to lower active-duty manpower requirements. Its location in a region of high air refueling receiver demand was also a key consideration.

"Though the renovations will look different and the aircraft flying out of Pease will have increased capabilities, there is one thing that will not change and that is the integrity, service  and commitment to excellent from the Airmen at Pease Air National Guard Base," Reddel said during his remarks.

The KC-46A will provide improved capability, including boom and drogue refueling on the same sortie, world-wide navigation and communication, airlift capability on the entire main deck floor, receiver air refueling, improved force protection and survivability and multi-point air refueling capability.

Reddel thinks the N.H. Air National Guard has a bright future.

"The KC-46 is a national asset and it is the cornerstone of the Air Force for refueling capabilities for decades to come," the general said. "The new tanker will provide Airman here with advanced capabilities for global reach and support Airman, Marines, Soldiers, and Coastguardsmen all around the world."

He added, "It will enhance operation effectiveness and efficiency and communications and but most importantly it will allow the men and women of the 157th Air Refueling Wing and 64th Air Refueling Squadron to operate and maintain these missions forever."

Officials expect construction to be completed in calendar year 2017.