Tinker Air Force Base remains an alternative location for the basing of 12 KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft. A public meeting will be held July 20 to discuss an environmental study for the selection process and allow public comments.
The Air Force is proposing to locate the unit at an installation with a reserve unit that focuses on global refueling. The purpose of the KC-46A Main Operating Base mission is to provide a fully capable, combat operational aerial refueling squadron to accomplish aerial refueling and related missions.
The Air Force recently added the new tanker aircraft as a replacement for the KC-135 Stratotanker. The KC-46A provides more refueling capacity, improved efficiency, and increased capabilities for cargo and aero medical evacuation.
Tinker AFB serves as the maintenance depot for the KC-46A. Construction is still underway on the maintenance depot campus.
March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California is the preferred alternative with Grissom ARB in Peru, Indiana, and Tinker AFB as reasonable alternatives. Along with the No Action Alternative, all three bases have been equally evaluated as alternatives in the Draft Environmental Impact Study.
The KC-46A aircraft will replace the KC-135 tanker fleet and continue supporting the mission of providing worldwide refueling, cargo, and aeromedical evacuation support. With more refueling capacity, improved efficiency, and increased capabilities for cargo and aeromedical evacuation, the KC46A will provide aerial refueling support to the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as allied nation coalition force aircraft.
The plan would include the beddown and operational stages. The beddown stage involves the demolition, new construction, and renovation of required facilities. Construction activities would be planned to start in 2024. The beddown stage also includes preparing support facilities for new personnel to support the mission.
The operational stage involves conducting the day-to-day activities including operational missions, maintenance of the squadron or squadrons at the base, and base flight operations.
The aircraft replacement process would occur from 2025 to 2027 as the required KC-46A aircraft are manufactured. Delivery of the first KC-46A aircraft to the selected base would occur in 2025. At the end of the delivery period, the full complement of 12 KC-46A aircraft will be located at the installation.
If Tinker is selected for the mission, it would result in an additional 189 personnel.
The public meeting is scheduled from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Reed Conference Center, 5750 Will Rogers Rd. in Midwest City. Attendees will be able to see the new noise contours that would result from replacing the KC-135 with the KC-46A, learn about the facilities and infrastructure that are proposed to be constructed and have an opportunity to provide verbal comments.
The public meeting will start as a come and go event from 5-5:30 p.m. Air Force officials will give a brief presentation at 5:30 p.m. They will describe the proposed action and alternatives, the purpose and reasoning behind the proposed KC-46A beddown, the environmental impact study process, and summarize the Draft Environmental Impact Statement findings.
The Draft EIS is available for download from the following website: https://www.kc-46a-mob5.com/index.aspx and may be reviewed in hardcopy format at the Midwest City and Del City public libraries.
Comments on the Draft EIS can be submitted electronically at www.kc-46a-mob5.com/, orally or in writing at public hearings, or by providing written comments to the contact information listed below. Public input must be received by Aug. 14, 2023.
People wishing to mail comments or obtain further information should send them to: KC-46A MOB 5 EIS, 13397 Lakefront Drive, Suite 100, Earth City, MO 63045