WICHITA, Kansas — McConnell Air Force Base was named the main operating base for the new fleet of KC-46A refueling tankers by the Department of Defense.
The tankers main purpose is to replace the aging fleet of KC-135.
This decision is good news for the air base, but also means big opportunities for the City of Wichita.
“McConnell is going to stay for quite sometime,” said council member Jeff Longwell, City of Wichita. “That’s the best news that we could receive for our community.”
McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita provides an economic boost to our local economy every year.
Bringing in more than $550 million, but city leaders believe the base is worth more than dollar signs.
“One of the great indicators are the number of folks that come to McConnell because of their tour of duty and come back to Wichita to retire here,” said Longwell.
The federal government made the announcement Wednesday afternoon that McConnell is going to be home for a new fleet of KC- 46 refueling tankers.
McConnell is already the world’s largest tanker base housing more than 60 KC- 135, but those tankers are part of an aging fleet running on 50 years of service.
It’s the reason why McConnell supporters knew they had to push for this replacement opportunity that could bring more jobs to the air capital.
“If Congress approves the president’s budget request they’re expected to bring up to $200 million dollars for improvements, refurbishing, and rebuilding of facilities at McConnell,” said Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, “That’s certainly a benefit to the contractor, the workers in Wichita who do that work.”
Kansas leaders point out with this new investment by the air force, the community can be at ease knowing McConnell won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
“Now we know the Air Force base has concluded that this is a strategic asset and one they want to have around for decades to come,” said Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo.
The fleet of 36 new refueling tankers are scheduled to lane in McConnell in 2016.
However the base is required to pass an environmental impact test.