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Team visit ensures Pease KC-46 ready

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jonathan Downing from the KC-46 Systems Program Office speaks to audience members during the KC-46 Site Activation Task Force visit at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H., July 14, 2015.  Subject matter experts from the National Guard Bureau, Air Mobility Command, Boeing, Flight Safety, McConnell Air Force Base and Altus AFB are on hand to help field the KC-46 at Pease. (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Curtis J. Lenz)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jonathan Downing from the KC-46 Systems Program Office speaks to audience members during the KC-46 Site Activation Task Force visit at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H., July 14, 2015. Subject matter experts from the National Guard Bureau, Air Mobility Command, Boeing, Flight Safety, McConnell Air Force Base and Altus AFB are on hand to help field the KC-46 at Pease. (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Curtis J. Lenz)

N.H. Air National Guard Maj. Michael J.  Sanders, KC-46 program integration officer, speaks to audience members during the KC-46 Site Activation Task Force visit at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H., July 14, 2015.  Subject matter experts from the National Guard Bureau, Air Mobility Command, KC-46 Systems Program Office, Boeing, Flight Safety, McConnell Air Force Base and Altus AFB are on hand to help field the KC-46 at Pease. (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Curtis J. Lenz)

N.H. Air National Guard Maj. Michael J. Sanders, KC-46 program integration officer, speaks to audience members during the KC-46 Site Activation Task Force visit at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H., July 14, 2015. Subject matter experts from the National Guard Bureau, Air Mobility Command, KC-46 Systems Program Office, Boeing, Flight Safety, McConnell Air Force Base and Altus AFB are on hand to help field the KC-46 at Pease. (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Curtis J. Lenz)

PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. -- Officials from the National Guard Bureau, Air Mobility Command, KC-46 System Program Office, Boeing and others are here as part of a Site Activation Task Force, also known as SATAF, July 14 through 16.  The visit will prepare the 157th Air Refueling Wing to receive the first KC-46A that is currently scheduled to arrive here in December 2017.

The team, comprised of subject matter experts, will look at and discuss key areas including: facilities, manpower, equipment, supplies, training, security and more.

"This is an important milestone for Pease," said Col. Shawn R. Burrus, 157th Air Refueling Wing commander. "As the wing prepares to welcome the KC-46A, we look forward to fielding the next generation of air refueling tanker for the United States Air Force."

According to Maj. Michael Sanders, Pease Air National Guard Base KC-46 program integration officer, the SATAF will participate in two days of actual working groups.

"These meetings will set the foundation for the future of our base," said Sanders. "This event has everyone's full attention."

The team will assign contacts in each of the various wing organizations to help identify and suggest ways to resolve any identified limitations.

Air Force officials announced last summer that Pease was selected as the Air Force's first Air National Guard-led KC-46A Pegasus main operating base.

Pease ANGB was selected as preferred alternative in May 2013. The Air Force recently completed the environmental analysis required by the National Environmental Protection Act to provide further information concerning the basing process.

Air Force officials analyzed operational considerations, installation attributes, economic, and environmental factors for each location before making a final basing decision. Subsequent KC-46 basing decisions will use similar criteria.

Air Force officials also explained their rationale for choosing New Hampshire-based location.

"The Air Force chose this base using operational analysis, results of site surveys, and military judgment factors," said Timothy Bridges, the Air Force deputy assistant secretary for installations.

Officials said 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.

Selection of Pease ANGB will minimize the challenge of fielding a new weapon system and avoid having to simultaneously establish a new active association.

"Tankers are the lifeblood of our joint force's ability to respond to crisis and contingencies," said Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark A. Welsh III. "The Pegasus will be capable of day and night operations and enable a rapid, global capability that will support U.S., joint, allied and coalition forces. The aircraft will also underpin our humanitarian missions."

(Editor's note: Portions of this article are used from the release at www.af.mil on Aug. 6, 2014.)
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