Ayotte, Shaheen Push Boeing, Air Force to Deliver KC46A Refuelers to Pease

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The KC-46A is intended to replace the United States Air Force's aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers and provides vital air refueling capability for the United States Air Force. (Courtesy Photo)

Both New Hampshire U.S. Senators are expressing disappointment in the development problems facing the new KC46A tanker refuelers.

Eighteen of them are expected to be based at Pease Air National Guard Base by 2018. While the Air Force is still standing by that date, a new announcement from the Department of Defense indicates that it could be late 2017 before the planes are delivered to their first destination at Altus Air Base in Oklahoma.

Originally, the Boeing built planes were to be ready by spring of next year. But now, Brigadier General Duke Richardson, in a press release, said that technical problems in refueling boom design and other issues are delaying the planes. Several weeks ago, Roger Wood InDepthNH exclusively reported in a podcast that the problems existed.

That after an Senate Armed Services committee hearing where Air Force General David Goldfein tried to downplay the problems.  Senators Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, and Kelly Ayotte, a Republican, both committee members, said in a news release that they are “confident that Boeing and the Air Force are working hard to address these challenges as quickly and effectively as possible.”

They continued, “We are so proud that the 157th Air Refueling Wing earned the right to be the first Air National Guard unit in the nation to receive the next-generation KC-46A tanker and we will continue to push Boeing and the Air Force to deliver the aircraft to Pease on schedule. We are committed to this program and will continue to monitor its progress very closely to protect taxpayers, advocate for the members of the New Hampshire Air National Guard, and ensure our warfighters receive the world’s best possible tanker.”

They are intended to replace the aging KC 135s still in use at Pease and elsewhere in the Air Force. Northeast Delta Dental and other supporters of independent unbiased news, support InDepthNH.org, published by the New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism. For InDepthNH.org, I’m Roger Wood.

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