McConnell AFB ready for new KC-46 tanker - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

McConnell AFB ready for new KC-46 tanker

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Local leaders on Monday said the future of McConnell Air Force Base looks as bright as it ever has after the completion of major construction work to prepare the base for the arrival of the KC-46 A aerial refueling tanker.

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R) Kansas joined in a ribbon cutting ceremony signifying the end of the construction projects.  Sen Moran said, "Since 2013, when the decision was announced that the KC-46 A would be based here, $267-million has been spent at McConnell Air Force Base in infrastructure improvements and changes in preparation for this new era in McConnell's mission."  

Hundreds of Airmen along with numerous local civic and political leaders were seated in a massive hangar, just recently completed, which can house three KC-46's.  They were there to hear remarks on the significance of the construction for McConnell.  Two other hangars had been completed earlier.  There were 16 construction projects, in all.  Work on some of the projects is still underway.  But a McConnell spokeswoman said that work should be completed by the end of this month.

There was a time local leaders feared the base could wind up on the Pentagon's chopping block.   But Senator Moran said,  "And as we look at the future for McConnell, it means its future is even brighter.  You wouldn't be investing this kind of money in McConnell, if you didn't believe that good things weren't going to continue to be here."  

The base is sandwiched between Wichita and Derby.  Derby's Mayor Randy White said, "This is a big deal for us.  This means McConnell's going to be our neighbor for a long, long, long time."  

Moran said he now expects Boeing to start deliveries of the KC-46 tankers to McConnell next spring. 

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