Spokane Journal of Business

Fairchild isn’t leading candidate for KC-46As

Base here, however, could receive more KC-135s

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Fairchild Air Force Base isn’t a contender to receive a KC-46A tanker fleet, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said in a press release this morning.

Murray said the U.S. Air Force has told congressional leaders that Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, in New Jersey, and Travis Air Force Base, in California, are the leading candidates to receive the new tankers. A final decision is expected later this year.

Murray lambasted the Air Force’s decision.

“I do not consider this case closed,” she said. “I will pursue all avenues to ensure the Air Force explains every turn that led us to this decision.”

Fairchild is one of five finalist bases to be home to the next fleet of KC-46As. In 2013, when Air Force chose the base to receive the first fleet of the next-generation tankers, Fairchild was the preferred alternative to the selected base, McConnell Air Force Base, in Kansas.

Greater Spokane Incorporated said in a release that while it’s disappointed to about the Air Force’s decision, it’s encouraged by the opportunity that Fairchild has to receive additional KC-135 tankers as they are reassigned to other bases. GSI CEO Todd Mielke said Fairchild could see its KC-135 fleet increase in size from 35 to 60 tankers, which would make it one of the largest tanker bases in the U.S

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