McConnell chosen as home for new air refueling tankers; Forbes still under consideration

The Department of Defense announced that McConnell Air Base in Wichita has been selected as one of the locations to receive the new KC-46A air refueling tanker being developed by Boeing as a replacement for the oldest KC-135 in the U.S Air Force fleet, some of which have been in service since the 1950s. The Department of Defense announced the decision after months of consideration.

“The selection of McConnell as the Air Force’s active duty choice for the KC-46A is great news for Kansas,” said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general. “While we had hoped the 190th Air Refueling Wing would be chosen as the National Guard wing to host the new tanker, we remain optimistic it will be selected in subsequent rounds.”

The 190th Air Refueling Wing at Forbes Field in Topeka was one of five Air National Guard locations considered for the new aircraft. Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire was chosen to host that mission. Despite this, the wing and the facility scored extremely well during the site survey visit conducted by the National Guard Bureau and Air Mobility Command.

“The Department of Defense weighed multiple factors in its selections,” said Tafanelli. “While it was unlikely that one state would receive the initial fielding for both the active duty and reserve component missions, we scored extremely well and I feel confident Forbes Field has a great chance of being selected as a future home for the KC-46A.”

Col. Ron Krueger, commander of the 190th ARW, said that even though the 190th wasn’t selected for the KC-46 during the first round, he is extremely proud of the hard work and dedication of wing members, and the support of the Topeka and surrounding community.

“Whether we are flying the KC-46 or continuing with the KC-135R, we have a strong future in Topeka and northeast Kansas,” said Krueger. “We will continue providing aerial refueling excellence.”

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