Armed Forces News

Brig. Gen. Mark W. Graper receives fuel from a KC-135 from MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, over the Joint Pacific Alaskan Range Complex in an F-16 Aggressor during Red Flag-Alaska 09-3 July 28, 2009, Eielson Air Force Base. RF-A is a Pacific Air Forces-directed field training exercise poised at giving aircrews their first 10 flights in combat. General Graper is the 354th Fighter Wing commander. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Boitz)

The Air Force has selected MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, to serve as the preferred home base for the next KC-46A Pegasus refueling tanker. In time, 24 of the planes will replace the aging KC-135 Stratotankers now stationed at MacDill. The Air Force made the choice after conducting extensive site surveys of several locations. The final decision was based upon what MacDill had to offer in terms of mission support, infrastructure capacity, community support, and environmental concerns. The Pegasus platform contains a host of capabilities its predecessor does not. It can perform both boom and drogue refueling during the same sortie, has enhanced navigation and communication, larger cargo capacity on the main deck floor, receive air refueling, better force protection, and the ability to conduct multi-point refueling operations. The Air Force will make a final decision of a permanent home for the Pegasus after it conducts an environmental impact analysis sometime in the fall of 2023. The service believes Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, could serve as a “suitable alternative,” according to a statement.