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Press Release

Rep. Castor Statement on MacDill AFB Being Chosen as Preferred Location to Host KC-46 Tanker Aircraft

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) released a statement following a press conference announcing that the Department of the Air Force selected Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base as the preferred location to host 24 KC-46As, which will replace the base’s 24 KC-135s. The decision was made after conducting site surveys that assessed locations based on factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, community support, environmental considerations and cost.

“I am thrilled that MacDill was chosen to be the new main operating base for 24 KC-46s Pegasus aircraft. The patriotic Tampa Bay community embraces the mission and the outstanding men and women who serve here. Tampa is “tanker town,” and we are thrilled to upgrade our tankers and cement the air mobility mission at MacDill for decades to come,” said Rep. Castor.

“MacDill Air Force Base is proud to be chosen to become the next preferred location to host the KC-46 Pegasus. The selection ensures that the 6th Air Refueling Wing will provide next generation aerial refueling support and AirPower for our nation’s defense for decades to come,” said Colonel Benjamin R. Jonsson, Commander, 6th Air Refueling Wing, MacDill Air Force Base.

“On behalf of the MacDill Means Mobility Task Force, we are thrilled that the Air Force has chosen MacDill Air Force Base to host the KC-46. Tampa Bay and Florida's unrivalled support for military servicemembers, their families, and our veteran community makes MacDill the perfect home for this new squadron. With a premier location for global power projection and global reach, MacDill is ready for the KC-46,” said Kelly Flannery, President & CEO, South Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

The announcement follows years of advocacy from Rep. Castor and local leaders on the placement of these next generation tanker aircraft. 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.”

The next step is an environmental impact assessment, expected to be completed by fall 2023, then the Air Force will confirm the decision for its sixth and newest KC-46 Main Operating Base.