KC-46 tanker demo trailer on display
By Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt, 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 07, 2013
PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. -- Airmen from the 157th Air Refueling Wing have the opportunity this weekend to tour a KC-46A Tanker Demonstration Trailer that traveled here to offer wing members a glimpse into the future of the New Hampshire Air National Guard.
The trailer, equipped with a simulator-like experience, traveled from Washington D.C. to Pease for personnel to tour Sept. 7 from noon to 8 p.m. and Sept. 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"Having this trailer here gives Airmen the opportunity to see what it's going to look like one day; provides all the good news of the future and what we can look forward to," said Col. Laurie Farris, Joint Force Headquarters director of operations.
Air Force officials announced in May 2013 that the 157th Air Refueling Wing is scheduled to be the first Air National Guard KC-46A main operating base (MOB 2).
"This was an opportunity for local civilian leaders who supported us all along this process to see what the excitement is all about," said Farris. "The wing will have the opportunity to come in and see the weapon system that will sustain the future of the 157th Air Refueling Wing."
Among the visitors taking the opportunity to test their skills in the simulator was Portsmouth Mayor Eric Spear.
"This is very exciting. It's great to see the next 50 years being demonstrated here in Portsmouth today," said Spear. "We're very excited the Air Force has decided to station the new KC-46A aircraft here. This is a great opportunity for people to come in and see what the new technology, the new plane, offers our pilots here."
Some of the reasons Pease Air National Guard Base was selected as the preferred alternative for the KC-46A MOB 2 because of its highly successful existing active-duty association, which would lead to the lowest active-duty manpower required and its location in a region of high air refueling receiver demand among other reasons.
Selection of Pease will minimize the challenge of fielding a new weapon system and avoid having to simultaneously establish a new active association.
"Bringing the KC-46A online is an important step in recapitalizing a tanker fleet that has been a leader in air refueling for more than five decades," said Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, who selected the preferred and reasonable alternatives for this mission. "This new age aircraft will achieve better mission-capable rates with less maintenance downtime, improving our ability to respond with rapid, global capability to assist U.S., joint, allied and coalition forces and better support humanitarian missions."
The Air Force contracted with Boeing in February 2011 to acquire 179 KC-46 Tankers to begin recapitalizing the more than 50-year-old KC-135 fleet. The initial delivery target is for 18 tankers by 2017. Production will then ramp up to deliver all 179 tankers by 2028.
The aircraft being produced at the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington is a commercial derivative design based on the Boeing 767-200ER passenger aircraft. When the aircraft comes off the Everett production line, it will be a 767-2C Provisioned Freighter that will eventually become a military-configured KC-46 tanker.
Other organizations scheduled to receive the new aircraft are Altus Air Force Base, Okla. as the preferred alternative for the KC-46A formal training unit (FTU), McConnell AFB, Kan., as the preferred alternative for the first active duty led KC-46A main operating base (MOB 1).
The first fully equipped KC-46 is slated to fly in early 2015.