WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Air Force has issued the final decision to send 24 KC-46A tankers to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst after study found there would be no significant impact on the local environment, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) announced on Monday.
“The joint base has cleared a major hurdle for the much-anticipated arrival of the KC-46A tankers,”said Smith, dean of the New Jersey congressional delegation who in July, 2016 led a delegation letter urging the Air Force to designate JB-MDL for the tankers. Smith was a leader in emphasizing the ideal location of JB-MDL for the tankers. JB-MDL is the nation’s only tri-service joint installation and is home to over 80 mission partners including active duty, Reserve and Guard units.
“The decision to station the newest tankers at JB-MDL brings millions of dollars in construction jobs to the base in the short-term, and helps secure the air mobility missions we have in the long-term,” Smith said. “It solidifies the well-deserved reputation of the joint base as a critical refueling hub on the East Coast.”
On Monday, Rep. Smith was notified that the U.S. Secretary of the Air Force officially signed the final decision to send 24 tankers to JB-MDL, after a study concluded there will be no significant environmentalimpact on the arrival of the tankers in the area.
“These new tankers are cleaner and quieter than the previous KC-10s; they burn 40 percent less fuel, and are stage-four noise compliant—the quietest tankers ever made,” Smith said. The 24 tankers will replace 32 KC-10 tankers currently at JB-MDL, which are slated for retirement.
In January of 2017, the U.S. Air Force chose JB-MDL along with Travis Air Force Base in California to receive the new tankers. In June of 2017, it was announced that JB-MDL would receive the tankers first. The Joint Base has already received over $146 million in FY 2018 funding for projects related to the arrival of the tankers, and $10.2 million in FY 2019 funding for projects.