The Air Force announced Wednesday the nine candidate bases slotted to potentially host the KC-46A next generation tanker. The first aircraft are set to arrive in 2016 at active duty units and 2018 at Guard units
From those nine, the Air Force will pick a training unit and two main operating bases — one active duty, the other Guard. Air Force officials said they plan to eventually station the entire planned tanker fleet at 10 main operating bases.
The finalists are as follows:
Active duty main operating base: Altus Air Force Base, Okla.; McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas; Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.; Air Force Base, Wash.
Air National Guard main operating base: Forbes Air Guard Station, Kansas; Joint-Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.; Pease Air Guard Station, N.H.; Pittsburgh International Airport Air Guard Station, Pa.; Rickenbacker Air Guard Station, Ohio.
The Air Force will choose between Altus and McConnell to decide where it will station its formal training unit for the KC-46A. It will be at one of those two bases where pilots will first learn to fly the next generation tanker.
The Air Force currently houses its tanker fleet consisting of the KC-10 and KC-135 at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.; McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.; Altus; Fairchild; Andrews Air Force Base, Md.; Kadena Air Base, Japan; MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.; March Air Reserve Base, Calif.; McConnell; RAF Mildenhall, England; Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.. The KC-135 is also stationed at Air National Guard bases in Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.