KC-46A campus to create 1,300 jobs at TinkerPublished: Friday, October 18, 2019 By: Dasiy Creager Source: The Journal Record
Tinker Air Force Base completed the first of 14 hangars on a 158-acre campus designated as the future maintenance hub for the KC-46A Pegasus.
Construction began on the KC-46A Tanker Sustainment Campus in August 2016 and is expected to continue through fiscal year 2029, with the first of the multirole tankers expected to arrive for maintenance in June 2020.
In a ceremony Friday, base leaders and U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford spoke about the significance of the project and community support the base had received.
“Today marks the beginning of the KC-46 era at Tinker Air Force Base and the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex. … It’s no accident our Air Force leadership selected Tinker Air Force Base for the Pegasus depot campus, given the base’s long and excellent track record maintaining the legacy KC-135 aircraft,” Lt. Gen. Gene Kirkland, commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center.
When complete, the campus will handle maintenance, repair and overhaul for KC-46 components, engines and software and create a minimum of 1,300 jobs.
The campus’s facilities will sustain the future of the Air Force’s rapid global mobility, said Brig. Gen. Chris Hill, commander of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex.
“When you’re in the aircraft maintenance and overhaul business and you get a new hangar, it’s like Christmas morning. We’re excited to be here, we’re excited about the future. The KC-46 is the dawn of a new era for the air refueling ability of our Air Force,” Hill said.
The project falls under the state Quality Jobs Program, with Oklahoma County and the city of Oklahoma City pitching in for the $44 million purchase price of the land from Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co. in February 2015.
The first in a three-part effort to replace the Air Force’s aging tanker fleet, the KC-46 will have the capacity for aerial refueling, medical evacuation and cargo transport.
According to Boeing, the KC-46’s refueling system is designed to carry 210,000 pounds of fuel, compatible with 64 aircraft, and can transfer 1,200 gallons of fuel per minute.
It has a cargo capacity of 212,299 pounds, wingspan of 156 feet and thrust of 62,000 pounds.
Deliveries of the eventual 179 aircraft fleet have been halted or delayed several times as deficiencies have been found with cargo locks and the remote vision system, which allows the in-flight operator to view the refueling system.
Consistent problems with the aircraft have led to Air Force officials requesting delays on the retirement of older aircraft and prohibiting the already-delivered KC-46s from carrying cargo or additional personnel until problems are fixed.
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