Wednesday, January 9, 2013
The Air Force has selected both McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita and Forbes Airfield in Topeka as finalists for basing air refueling tankers.
U.S. Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts said Wednesday that both installations are finalists for the main operating base. McConnell is also a finalist to house the formal training unit.
Starting in 2017, the base chosen as the main operating base will support 36 active-duty KC-46A tankers.
The two Republican senators say the decision shows the Air Force recognizes the critical role Kansas plays in national security and global air mobility.
“Today’s selection of not just one, but both Kansas Air Force bases is a testament to the critical role our state plays in supporting all branches of our military and allied partners as they carry out missions overseas and at home,” Senator Moran said. “Strategically positioned in the heart of the United States, the location, capacity and mission of McConnell and Forbes make both bases exceptionally equipped to provide air mobility globally at a moment’s notice."
The Air Force is in the process of transitioning the 50-year-old KC-135 tankers to the new KC-46As.
Congressman Mike Pompeo said an official announcement should be made in spring.
The Associated Press contributed to this report