Press Release

Rep. Castor: MacDill Air Force Base in Final Consideration for New KC-46 Tanker Aircraft

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Washington, May 14, 2021 | comments

 Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) announced that the Acting Secretary of the Air Force has approved MacDill Air Force Base as one of the final two operating bases up for consideration as the newest KC-46 Main Operating Base (MOB). This would replace 24 x KC-135s at MacDill with 24 x KC-46As.

“The KC-46 is a next generation tanker aircraft, and locating the planes and personnel at MacDill would be an ideal choice. We do not have encroachment issues like other bases, and have well-paved runways, capacity in our hangers, and accessible refueling areas. MacDill would make logistical and financial sense… Tampa is a "tanker town," and we intend to keep it that way. Our neighbors are united in support of the missions and military service members at MacDill. MacDill is a major economic engine that generates over $4.1 billion a year for our local economy, protects and defends our nation, and is the home to thousands of brave men and women in uniform and their families. In the days ahead, just like we did when MacDill had previously been considered for upgraded tankers and additional KC-135s, community leaders will make our case to the Air Force to locate the new tankers in Tampa sooner rather than later.”

MacDill and Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington State are the top two candidates for the new 24 KC-46s. Later this year, the Air Force will share its top choice – the other base will be designated as the preferred alternate. Then after a 2-year environmental impact assessment, the Air Force will make the final decision of the location of the sixth and newest KC-46 MOB.

In 2012, when MacDill was considered by the Air Force for KC-46 tankers, Rep. Castor led a “MacDill Means Mobility” campaign with local and state leaders to highlight the strengths of the base to national policymakers. Castor convened community and business leaders for a meeting at the Pentagon to highlight MacDill’s strength and reputation as a “tanker town.”

“Clearly, the air mobility mission remains vital to our national security and the upgraded tankers will strengthen that mission in the decades ahead,” continued Castor.

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