For nearly 60 years since the arrival of the KC-135 Stratotanker, Travis Air Force base has always been home to an air-refueling squadron.
That mission will continue with the new state-of-the-art refueling aircraft, the KC-46A Pegasus that is set to arrive on base in January 2023.
Friday, on the site of what will become a new 174,000 square-foot maintenance hangar for the aircraft, those instrumental in securing Travis’ selection as the future home turned over a ceremonial patch of dirt to kick off construction.
In all 24 KC-46s will be assigned to the base, replacing the current complement of KC-10s and continuing the mission of air mobility.
During the ceremony, Congressman John Garamendi, D-Solano, spoke about the national defense strategy and the role that Travis and the new KC-46 will play in that mission.
“Air mobility is absolutely essential for what this nation needs to do now and into the future. Bottom line is, we don’t have enough, and that’s why today is so critically important,” he said. “The KC-46s aren’t going to be here for a few more years but when they come here, they will have the facilities necessary to immediately carry out their task.”
United States Air Force Major General. Sam Barrett, Commander, 18th Air Force, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois spoke in glowing terms about the KC-46, as “an aircraft that our air force will employ for decades. Just as we’ve done with the KC-10 and many, many decades with the KC-135.”
United States Air Force Colonel Jeff Nelson, Commander of the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base said that Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony is the first visual step to the base and the community that the KC-46 is coming.
Nelson indicated that the aircrews and maintenance will be a combination of existing pilots, boom operations from other aircraft, like the KC-10 and KC-135 as well new personnel with all training at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma.
Construction is on the hangar is expected to start in March of 2019 with the completion of approximately six months before the arrival of the aircraft in 2023.
You know, 2023 sounds a long way off, but there is a lot of work that goes into making the base ready for it. So we’re very excited for the new facilities.” Nelson said.