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JB MDL KC-46 Familiarization

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A KC-135 Stratotanker and a KC-46A Pegasus, assigned to McConnell Air Force Base, taxi with two KC-10 Extender’s, assigned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst New Jersay March 22, 2021, at McConnell AFB, Kansas. JB MDL leaders came to McConnell to familiarize themselves with the KC-46 before they receive their first KC-46. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Willis)

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A KC-46A Pegasus lands March 22, 2021, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. With greater refueling, cargo, and aeromedical evacuation capabilities, the KC-46 will provide the next generation of aerial refueling support to the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and partner-nation receivers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Willis)

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Tech. Sgt. Clay Wonders (left), 344th noncommissioned officer in charge of standards and evaluations, briefs Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst leadership on the KC-46A Pegasus fuselage March 23, 2021, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. The four-day visit helped give JB MDL leadership a better understanding of the new airframe, which they are expected to receive sometime in 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexi Bosarge)

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Senior Airman Dustin Curran, 344th Air Refueling Squadron aerial refueling specialist, discusses KC-46A Pegasus fuselage limitations with Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst leadership March 23, 2021, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. JB MDL leadership were able to visit a number of different McConnell organizations, allowing them to gain insight on the KC-46 operational abilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexi Bosarge)

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1st Lt. Jayce Gravdahl, 349th Air Refueling Squadron pilot, tests the KC-135 Stratotanker electrical system during a pre-flight check March 25, 2021, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. During a pre-flight check, aircrew members test equipment to ensure everything functions properly before takeoff. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Willis)

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A KC-10 Extender assigned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst New Jersey approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to McConnell Air Force Base March 25, 2021. Two KC-135, two KC-46A Pegasus, and a KC-10 conducted refueling training after a KC-46 familiarization at McConnell. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Willis)

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A KC-10 Extender assigned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst New Jersey connects with a KC-135 Stratotanker from McConnell Air Force Base during aerial refueling March 25, 2021. The KC-135 has provided the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and excelled in this role for more than 60 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Willis)

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A KC-10 Extender, assigned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst New Jersey lands March 22, 2021, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. The KC-10 is a refueling aircraft capable of carrying 356,000 pounds of fuel and transporting 170,000 pounds of cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Willis)

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A KC-10 Extender, assigned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., taxis March 22, 2021, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. Leadership from JB MDL visited McConnell in preparation to implement the KC-46A Pegasus upon its arrival at the joint base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexi Bosarge)

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Leaders and KC-10 Extender crews, assigned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., arrive March 22, 2021, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. The JB MDL leadership visited McConnell for a four-day tour to become familiar with the different aspects of the aircraft, including refueling and cargo operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexi Bosarge)

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Staff Sgt. Arnold Pena, 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron air terminal operations center senior controller, briefs Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst leadership about cargo limitations on the KC-46A Pegasus March 23, 2021, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. As the first KC-46 operating base, McConnell has led the way in implementing the initial test and evaluation period. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexi Bosarge)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. --

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.”