Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Washington lawmakers: Give us the fuel tanker

Posted on Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Washington's lawmakers are leaning on the Air Force to bring a high-tech aerial refueling tanker to Fairchild Air Force Base.

A joint letter sent to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley from eight house representatives, both senators and the governor urged the military to deploy the KC-46A to the airbase just outside of Spokane.

"As you know, the KC-46A will play a critical role in the United States’ global strategy," write the lawmakers, including U.S. House Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who represents Spokane. "Mission successes will rely heavily on the strategic basing determination process and the effective and efficient use of these aircraft."

The KC-46A is being built by Boeing to replace the KC-135, a aerial refueling tanker in service for over 50 years and operated by the Fairchild-based 92nd Air Refueling Wing. There will be a competitive process for determining where the tanker will be deployed, according to a spokeswoman for Sen. Patty Murray.

According to the Air Force, the first flight of the KC-46A is scheduled for late in 2014.

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