JB MDL KC-46 Familiarization

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexi Bosarge, Senior Airman Alan Ricker
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. – Leadership assigned to the 87th Air Base Wing, 305th Air Mobility Wing, and 514th AMW, visited McConnell on March 22-25, 2021, from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., to familiarize themselves with KC-46 procedures and capabilities in preparation for scheduled deliveries in 2021.

As the first main KC-46A Pegasus operating base, McConnell, leads the way in implementing the initial test and evaluation period (IOT&E), configuring maintenance procedures, and planning future mission operations for the new refueling airframe since receiving it on January 25, 2019.

“The in-person familiarization that’s happening this week is critical for mission success when transitioning to a new airframe,” said Col. Richard Tanner, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander. “There is a foundation of KC-46 knowledge available here for JB MDL to tap into, and learn the challenges, innovations, and solutions created. We’re excited to share that journey with them, and watch them build off the lessons learned with the KC-46 to expand the capability of our Global Mobility mission.”

JB MDL will be the first and only joint base to receive the new tanker and is planning to acquire over 20 KC-46s. McGuire has been preparing for the aircraft’s arrival since being selected in 2017.

“The 305th AMW’s mission of “Generate-Fly-Deliver” will continue to provide rapid global mobility before and long after the arrival of the KC-46,” said Col. Scott Wiederholt, 305th Air Mobility Wing commander. “The ability to perform simultaneous air refueling of multiple aircraft and eventually refuel every aircraft with a boom and drogue system, along with increased survivability in more contested environments, represent some of the exciting capabilities.”

During the visit, JB MDL personnel were able to tour a KC-46 and explore the operating differences between the new aircraft and their current KC-10 Extenders. 

“The differences come from the mission systems that have been added to the KC-46,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Arthur, 2nd Air Refueling Squadron commander. “The level of combat situational awareness now available to aircrews will enable them to be more aware and integral to the fight in ways that they haven’t been before.”

While the team was at McConnell they were able to utilize simulators to help train pilots and visited the KC-46 fuselage to understand cargo loading operations. They were able to learn from Airmen assigned to the KC-46, that have prior experience from the KC-135 Stratotanker and the KC-10 Extender. 

With the addition of the KC-46 to their mission, JB MDL will be one of the newest Air Force installations to help strengthen the future of Air Mobility Command’s tanker fleet.  

“The entire team is incredibly excited about what’s ahead for our wing as we are at the forefront of the next generation of aerial refueling and what this means for the support we provide to the combatant commanders and our international allies,” said Wiederholt. “The total force team back at JBMDL is preparing for the KC-46’s arrival and are eager to add it to our fleet.”