McConnell completes $267 million KC-46 construction

sunrise over McConnell hangar

The sun rises over the KC-46 Pegasus three-bay hangar Oct. 12, 2017, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. All KC-46 construction on McConnell has been completed, and the base now stands ready to be the first to accept the new aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Erin McClellan)

Ribbon cutting

Leaders from the community and base officials cut a ribbon to celebrate the KC-46 military construction projects completion Oct. 16, 2017, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. In total, 16 projects were part of the $267 million in construction for the new weapons system set to arrive in spring 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alan Ricker)

Leadership and Community officials ribbon cutting

Col. Josh Olson, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander, speaks at the KC-46 MILCON projects ribbon cutting Oct. 16, 2017, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. Sixteen projects allowed McConnell to prepare for the future of air refueling. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alan Ricker)

Leadership and Community officials ribbon cutting

Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas speaks at the KC-46 military construction projects ribbon cutting Oct. 16, 2017, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. In total, 16 projects were part of the $267 million in construction for the new weapons system set to arrive in spring 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alan Ricker)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Team McConnell held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 16 at the new KC-46 Pegasus three-bay hangar to recognize that the base now stands ready to be the first to accept the new multi-role aircraft next year.

Since 2014, the installation known as the home of air refueling underwent $267 million of military construction to prepare for the airframe. Today, 14 of the 16 projects are completed.

“The KC-46 will revolutionize air refueling,” said Col. Josh Olson, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander. “It is only appropriate that the home of air refueling take the lead with this new airframe, and that started with these 16 construction projects. They reflect years of hard work from individuals in our community who are literally laying the foundation for the future of our Air Force.”

The construction on McConnell has been giving back to the local community since it began. Local companies were awarded $24 million in contracts, and $25 million worth of Kansas steel was used for the three hangars, 79 percent of which was recycled.

In addition, out-of-town workers supported the economy through hotel and housing rentals and the purchase of food, fuel, internet services and construction material. When additional workers were needed, the jobs were sourced to local laborers.

Several distinguished visitors spoke at the ceremony and showed support for the base. They included Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas; Brig. Gen. Steven Bleymaier, Headquarters Air Mobility Command Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection director; and Dr. James Hearn, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division regional business directorate.

“Because of the mission, work and effort [done at McConnell], America is a safer, more secure place,” said Moran. “Our ability to refuel around the globe is a determining factor of how safe and secure we are as a nation. While we are here as Kansans, we are also here as Americans recognizing a significant role in our national security that is derived from this Air Force base and these men and women who serve from here.”

Thanks to three years of preparation, McConnell is now ready continue fueling the fight with the next generation of air refueling. The KC-46 is currently undergoing testing and evaluations and is slated to arrive here in spring 2018.