The formal training unit and first main operating base will be led by active duty units. The second main operating base will be led by an Air National Guard unit. The FTU and MOB 1 will begin receiving aircraft in fiscal 2016. MOB 2 will receive aircraft in fiscal 2018.
The basing criteria for the MOBs, approved by Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz, include mission (proximity to refueling receiver demand, airfield and airspace availability, fuels considerations, and the potential to establish an association), capacity (hangar, runway, ramp space and facility considerations), environmental requirements and cost factors.
The basing criteria for the FTU, approved by the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force, include mission (proximity of aircraft available to support air refueling training, student throughput, aircrew training systems, fuels considerations, and the potential to establish an association), capacity (hangars, runway, ramp space and facility considerations), environmental requirements and cost factors.
“The KC-46A tanker is a critical force multiplier and essential to the way this nation fights its wars and provides humanitarian support around the globe,” explained Schwartz. “The KC-46A is a game changer, and will be a great asset to the nation, not only as a tanker, but as a means to augment the airlift fleet, provide aeromedical evacuation and transport of passengers and cargo.”
“The Air Force is committed to an open and transparent process to address KC-46A basing,” said Kathleen Ferguson, Air Force deputy assistant secretary for installations, “As we progress through the basing process, we will share information so interested communities are aware of what to expect.”
The Air Force will evaluate all sites within the defined enterprise against the approved criteria. This information will be used to identify candidate bases for the KC-46A. After the release of the candidate bases, Air Mobility Command will conduct site surveys at each candidate base.
Site survey teams will assess each location against operational and training requirements, potential impacts to existing missions, housing, infrastructure, manpower, and develop cost estimates to determine how to beddown the KC-46 at each location.
Based on the results of these efforts, the Air Force plans to announce KC-46A preferred and reasonable alternatives and begin the environmental impact analysis process for the FTU and MOB 1 in December 2012. Likewise, the Air Force plans to announce the preferred and reasonable alternatives and begin the EIAP for MOB 2 in the spring of 2013.
“This enterprise-wide look enhances our ability to create, protect, and sustain all air and space forces across the full range of military operations,” said Ferguson. “It is a deliberate, standardized, and transparent process.”