Air Force's newest refueling tanker arrives in Oklahoma for maintenance

Published: Monday, September 14, 2020 By: Dale Denwalt Source: NewsOK

Maintenance crews at Tinker Air Force Base welcomed their first KC-46 mid-air refueling tanker Thursday.

The KC-46 Pegasus is the U.S. Air Force's newest aircraft to to enter the service. It will eventually replace the six-decade old KC-135 Stratotanker. After landing at the base Thursday afternoon, civilian members of the 76th Aircraft Maintenance Group gathered around the aircraft for a closer look and a group photo to commemorate the event.

"We're not here to just turn wrenches and change tires," said Col. Gregory Lowe, commander of the maintenance group. "We're here to put airplanes back in the air."

The base will eventually host 90 of the aircraft each year on a rotating maintenance schedule. Construction is still ongoing at Tinker to accommodate the mission. When construction is complete, Tinker will have 14 hangars to house the aircraft when they pass through Oklahoma, and the estimated 1,300 workers assigned to the job. That construction is expected to cost $600 million over the next 10 to 12 years, Lowe said.

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