U.S. Air Force
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Latest Aerial Refueler Extends Air Force's Reach

Sept. 27, 2020
The U.S. Air Force hopes to extend the reach of its forces through the use of its KC-46A advanced aerial refueling aircraft.

Global reach for the U.S. Air Force is often a matter of fuel supply, and the new KC-46A Pegasus refueling tanker provides the means of providing much-needed aircraft fuel while still in the air. The high-capacity aircraft displaces the KC-10 Extender while replacing the KC-135 Stratotanker refueling tankers. The KC-46A provides added mobility and capability to aid global missions as well as crisis and contingency operations. It is being developed as part of a multiple-phase construction operation by the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC).

The AFCEC provides full-spectrum installation engineering services for the new refueling tanker especially in the form of infrastructure to support the latest vehicles and equipment. Colonel David Norton, director of AFCEC’s Facility Engineering Directorate, said: “The Air Force relies on AFCEC to design and deliver resilient facilities which will accommodate the needs of the KC-46A fleet.”

AFCEC is working jointly with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command on construction efforts to provide infrastructure for the KC-46A aircraft (see figure) across the Air Force. “Infrastructure is critical to air power. We work closely with the bases to improve their facilities and ensure they are mission ready,” Norton added. The $500 million infrastructure modernization program in support of the new refueling tankers began in 2016 at Tinker AFB, OK. 

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