Air Force Selects March ARB as the preferred location for KC-46A

  • Published
  • By Doug Hays

The Department of the Air Force selected March Air Reserve Base, California, as the preferred location to host the next KC-46A Pegasus aircraft.

Grissom had been in the running, and was selected as a reasonable alternative, along with Tinker AFB, Oklahoma.

The final basing selection will be made in the fall of 2023 allowing environmental studies to be completed at both the preferred locations, as well as the reasonable alternative locations.

“We put our best foot forward and had a very strong and competitive package,” said Col. Thom Pemberton, 434th Air Refueling Wing commander. “The support we received from the community and our elected officials, was and continues to be tremendous.”

The initial beddown of aircraft is scheduled for FY25.

What does this mean for Grissom?

“Grissom has long been known as the gold standard in KC-135R operations, and we will continue to be,” Pemberton said. “We maintain and fly them better than anyone.”

While Grissom wasn’t selected for the current Main Operating Base 5, or a previous MOB 3, that doesn’t rule out basing in the future.

“I truly believe that Grissom will be home to a new refueling aircraft eventually, but this just wasn’t our time,” Pemberton said. “The KC-46 is the future of refueling, it is an outstanding aircraft with tremendous capabilities.”

While the KC-135R is eventually going away, it isn’t going away anytime soon.

“The Stratotanker has long been the work horse of the refueling business, and will remain an integral part of our nation’s defense,” Pemberton said. “Grissom is poised for great things in the future because of our Airmen, our strategic location and our community partnerships.”

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