KC-46 should land at Travis Air Force Base

The U.S. Air Force is currently evaluating where to deploy the next generation refueling tanker, the KC-46 Pegasus.

The Travis Community Consortium believes that there is no better base than Travis Air Force Base to take on the refueling mission of the future. Time and time again, Travis has proven its resiliency and capability to be an innovative and premier installation to fulfill the Air Force mission.

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Travis Air Force Base is currently among five Air Force installations being considered to receive the KC-46A.

This will be the Air Force’s fourth basing decision for the next-generation refueling tanker. The other bases being considered are Dover Air Force Base, Grand Forks Air Force Base, Fairchild Air Force Base and Joint Base McGuire-Dix.

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In making its final decision, the Air Force will consider installations based on their capabilities to fulfill the mission, their capacity to accommodate the new mission, the environmental impact of the mission to the area and the total cost to “bed-down” the new mission at each base. We are confident Travis should score exceptionally well in all of these areas.

While the pivot of attention and defense resources to the Asia-Pacific region has been slowed due to increased activity in the fight against the Islamic State group, the threat posed by China and North Korea is real and will require additional resources to address the matters at hand.

China’s defense expansion into the South China Sea, and North Korea’s testing of ballistic missiles to improve upon their nuclear capabilities, expose new threats to U.S. and our allies. These threats must be addressed head on by increased U.S. presence in the region, which will require enhanced refueling capabilities. Serving as the Gateway to the Pacific, Travis will play a crucial role in fulfilling that role.

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Travis’ capacity and capability also strengthens the base’s candidacy for this new refueling aircraft and mission. Travis has a long history performing active-duty refueling missions through Air Mobility Command, which is exactly what the Air Force is looking for. Should Travis be selected, the base mission capability and compatibility would be seamless in transitioning from KC-10s, preserving the integrity of the mission structure. Additionally, the ramp space can easily accommodate the new aircraft and so can the airfield infrastructure as well as much of the airfield facilities.

The communities surrounding Travis Air Force Base have always gone to great lengths to welcome new Air Force personnel and make them feel at home. Just a few years ago, the Travis community supported the Air Force as a new C-17 aircraft mission was located at Travis. The Travis Community Consortium has also been proactive in identifying new opportunities for innovative Air Force Community Partnerships that are designed to make more efficient use of taxpayer dollars, and streamline activities for the Air Force.

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Local governments have also been steadfast in their commitment to protect Travis by recently updating and approving the Travis Land Use Compatibility Plan, which prevents encroachment on the air space surrounding the base.

Our community takes great pride in Travis. Federal, state and local elected officials, along with community members throughout the county, stand united in support of Travis, their personnel and their families.

We are eager to help and support the Air Force as they modernize their refueling fleet, and ready, willing and able to welcome the new KC-46A Pegasus to Travis Air Force Base.

Sandy Person is chairwoman of the Travis Community Consortium, a local advocacy group that supports Travis Air Force Base. Its members include Solano County, its cities, Solano Community College, the Solano Economic Development Corporation, Travis Regional Armed Services Committee and member businesses.

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