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AFCEC smoothes the way for KC-46A beddown

  • Published
  • By Jennifer Schneider
  • AFCEC Public Affairs
As production of the first KC-46A aerial refueling tankers gets underway, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center is laying the groundwork to house and support the new fleet.

The Air Force selected the KC-46A to replace the aging fleet of KC-135 aircraft, and Air Mobility Command brought AFCEC on board in December 2011 to manage the design and construction of the facilities necessary for bedding down the fleet of 179 new aircraft.

While final decisions for the aircraft training and operating sites aren't expected until May 2014, Air Force officials announced Altus Air Force Base, Okla., as the preferred alternative for the KC-46A formal training unit, or FTU, and McConnell AFB, Kansas, as the preferred alternative for the first active duty led KC-46A main operating base, or MOB1, this past May. The preferred alternative for the first Air National Guard KC-46A main operating base, or MOB2, is Pease Air Guard Station, N.H. The Air Force estimates construction will total about $3.2 billion.

"The Air Force chose these locations using operational analysis, results of site surveys and military judgment factors," said Timothy Bridges, the Air Force deputy assistant secretary for installations.

The final site locations are pending the results of environmental impact analysis still underway at the installations being considered for the FTU and MOB1, as well as the five under consideration for the MOB2.

The draft EISs are currently being prepared and will be published this fall, said Jean Reynolds, EIS process manager in AFCEC's National Environmental Policy Act division. The EISs are expected to be final in spring 2014.

With the first aircraft scheduled to be delivered in 2016, AFCEC doesn't have much time to get the supporting infrastructure in place.

"We are under a time crunch and the uncertainty regarding the final site locations meant we needed to develop standard designs that could easily be site-adapted to the final site locations selected," said Thomas Hodges, an AFCEC branch chief responsible for the KC-46A military construction program. "We are adapting the designs for the preferred sites now, so once the final decision is reached next May, we will be able to move quickly and award the construction contracts."

AFCEC is collaborating with three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers districts, in addition to contracted architectural and engineering firms, to develop the standard and site-adapted designs for the facilities. The center will also be managing the construction projects for the FTU and MOB1 once the contracts are awarded, Hodges said.

Individual projects for the FTU and MOB1 include construction of one- and three-bay maintenance hangars, a two-bay corrosion control and fuel cell maintenance hangar, flight simulators and flight training centers, fuselage trainers and a dormitory. Additional projects include modifications to an existing hangar, apron space additions and fuel hydrant system expansions.

The entire KC-46A beddown program will span 15 years, starting in fiscal 2014.