McConnell Air Force Base in Kan added a sixth KC-46A Pegasus aircraft to its inventory during an official arrival ceremony.
During the event, Col. Phil Heseltine, 931st Air Refueling Wing commander, took time to address the significance of the delivery and its role in Team McConnell’s Total Force Initiative.
“It’s humbling to represent our Air Force Reserve Command and the men and women of AFRC’s first KC-46 wing,” said Heseltine. “Kanza Warriors been part of this mission since well before the first delivery, and, united with our 22d Air Refueling Wing partners, our Airmen have done a fantastic job.”
Marking the importance of the arrival, Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, Chief of the Air Force Reserve and Air Force Reserve Command commander, attended the ceremony, remarking on the importance of McConnell’s role in the future of air refueling. This was Scobee’s first time visiting McConnell.
There’s only one way we can protect power, and that’s with tankers,” said Scobee. “This machine is going to be fantastic for the wars that our country is expecting us to be able to fight.”
During the ceremony, Scobee was handed a ceremonial key to one of the KC-46s by Heseltine.
The 931 ARW is one member of Team McConnell, along with the 184th Intelligence Wing, the guard component, and the active duty 22nd Air Refueling Wing.
“Team McConnell continues to make huge strides as we operationalize the KC-46,” said Col. Josh Olson, 22 ARW commander. “Tail 17-046036 will helps us continue to shape the next generation of air refueling. We are very fortunate to have incredible partners like the 931st Air Refueling Wing as we write this chapter in history.”
The KC-46 will eventually replace the U.S. Air Force’s aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers which have been the backbone of the refueling fleet for more than 50 years. The KC-46 will provide more refueling capability, an increased capacity for cargo, and modern aeromedical evacuation capabilities.
The KC-46 is expected to provide aerial refueling to Air Force, joint and partner nation aircraft. McConnell is scheduled to receive 18 tankers in the first round of deliveries and will eventually end up with a fleet of 36.