June 1, 2021

Air Force Urged To Send New Refueling Planes To Indiana Base

A KC-46A Pegasus connects with an F-35 Lightning II in the skies over California Jan. 22, 2019.  - U.S. Air Force photo by Ethan Wagner

A KC-46A Pegasus connects with an F-35 Lightning II in the skies over California Jan. 22, 2019.

U.S. Air Force photo by Ethan Wagner

PERU, Ind. (AP) — Indiana’s congressional delegation is pushing for the Air Force to select Grissom Air Reserve Base as a site for new aerial refueling and transport aircraft.

The northern Indiana base’s 434th Air Refueling Wing now flies KC-135 tankers. The Air Force announced in mid-May that Grissom was among six bases under consideration for assignment of the KC-46A Pegasus planes.

All nine U.S. House members from Indiana and its two senators joined in a letter to Air Force officials calling Grissom “an optimal facility” for the new planes. The KC-46A is replacing the KC-135 tankers, the last of which were built in 1965, according to the Air Force.

“The base boasts ample capacity to support additional aircraft, including hangar, runway, and ramp capacity, and is located in an exceptionally low-cost area with minimal environmental concerns,” the Indiana’s delegation’s letter said.

If selected, Grissom would expect to see 12 KC-46As based there with the addition of 190 positions to its some 500 current Air Force jobs, according to U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski’s office.

The Air Force expects to make its base selection this fall, with the new planes operational in early 2027.

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