The first two KC-46A Pegasus aircraft have arrived at McConnell Air Force Base (AFB), a US Air Force spokesperson has announced.
McConnell AFB was designated main operating base for the Pegasus in 2014, and US Air Force personnel have been making preparations ever since. In anticipation, a small army of contractors have assembled three KC-46 maintenance hangers, a number of technical training dormitories, an air traffic control tower and fuselage trainer.
Collectively, these projects have injected $267 million into the regional economy, thanks in part to the use of Kansas workers and local resources. Now that the aircraft has officially arrived, the active duty 344th ARS and Air Force Reserve 924th ARS will be the first to operationally fly the KC-46.
“This airplane has a wide variety of capabilities that we haven’t seen here before,” said Lieutenant Colonel Wesley Spurlock, 344th Air Refueling Squadron Commander. “We’re going to get our hands on it, then expand on those abilities and see how we can employ them operationally.”
This early work will pave the way for the entire KC-46 enterprise and eventually allow other bases to receive the aircraft in the future, developing tactics, techniques and procedures to share.
“For those of us who have spent years watching this process happen, it’s enormously humbling to finally see it come to a close,” said Colonel Phil Heseltine, 931st ARW Commander. “We are grateful to everyone who is joining us as we fulfill the potential of this amazing new aircraft.”
“We are honoring the rich culture that we have been gifted by those who came before us,” Heseltine concluded. “That culture continues today. For example, the forward fuselage section of the KC-46 is built by Spirit AeroSystems right here in Wichita.”
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