By 157th Air Refueling Wing member William Davis

Boeing reports that construction of its third KC-46A test aircraft is underway and that the program is on track to meet its scheduled delivery of the first production aircraft to the U.S. Air Force in 2016.  The KC-46 is based on the highly successful Boeing 767 airliner, with over 1000 units in service; Boeing will produce 4 test aircraft in total.  Pease Air National Guard Base’s 157th Air Refueling Wing, selected as the preferred Guard location to fly the new air refueling tanker, is participating in an environmental impact study as well as conducting preliminary planning for facility construction and increased manning in anticipation of receiving 12 of the aircraft in 2018-2019.

After years of hard work and an arduous selection process, the 157th Air Refueling Wing was selected as the “preferred” location among five finalist bases to be the first Air National Guard unit to receive the new KC-46A air refueling tanker. The final step in the process is a one-year environmental impact study that has already begun and the first aircraft are projected to arrive at Pease in the 2018-2019 time frame. The KC-46 is an improvement in every way over the unit’s venerable KC-135’s – built in the late 50’s to early 60’s. The KC-46 is quieter, more fuel efficient and has full capability in 3 distinct roles: aerial refueling, cargo/passenger carriage and aero-medical evacuation.

The National Guard is America’s oldest military force and is unique among the services in that it has both a local and national role. Many of our members live and work in the Seacoast and are active participants in all aspects of their communities. The success of a Guard unit relies in part upon support from its neighbors and the 157th Air Refueling Wing is grateful to ours. Just as the National Guard is always ready to be there for you, you have always been there for us. Thank you!