Rickenbacker should be main operating base for the KC-46, Ohio delegation says

Credit: 157th Air Refueling Wing Public

Credit: 157th Air Refueling Wing Public

A congressional delegation including Sens. Sherrod Brown and J.D. Vance, with U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, is urging the Air Force to make Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base in Columbus the next main operating base for the KC-46 aerial tanker.

In January, the Air Force picked Selfridge Air National Guard Base, in Michigan as the preferred location to host the KC-46A Pegasus pending a planned environmental impact analysis slated to be complete next year.

The service also fields active-duty KC-46s in bases in Kansas and New Jersey, with reserve KC-46s in (or slated to go to) North Carolina, New Hampshire and California.

Now, Brown, Turner and other members of the Ohio congressional delegation have called on the Air Force to add Rickenbacker to that list.

“Between the proven performance of the Ohio Air National Guard’s 121st Air Refueling Wing (ARW) and its two 12,000-foot runways, Rickenbacker AGS is well-positioned to accept the new eight KC-46A aircraft,” a release from Brown’s office said Thursday.

“We believe the 121st ARW’s proven performance and wealth of experience, Rickenbacker’s outstanding facilities, and the strong local and statewide support for the unit make it an ideal location for the KC-46A MOB 7 site. We encourage you to give full consideration to Rickenbacker AGS as you make your decision in the months ahead,” the lawmakers wrote.

The KC-46A provides aerial refueling to the military and is considered the next generation of refueling and hauling capabilities.

The KC-46A is the new Air Force aerial tanker recapitalizing the service’s aging tanker fleet. It boasts greater refueling, cargo and aeromedical evacuation capabilities than the KC-135, the Air Force says, providing aerial refueling to Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and U.S. allies.

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