The United States Air Force has selected Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL) to be the first military installation to to sequence its new KC-46A refueling jets, according to an announcement by Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-4)
The KC-46A is the first phase of a 3-phase effort to replace the U.S. Air Force’s aging tanker fleet. With more refueling capacity and enhanced capabilities, improved efficiency and increased capabilities for cargo and aeromedical evacuation, the KC-46A will provide aerial refueling support to the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps as well as allied nation coalition force aircraft, according to the Air Force.
This is a big win for New Jersey jobs, Smith said.
“Monday’s notice that the Air Force has selected JBMDL first, in its sequencing for the delivery of KC-46A Main Operating Base 4, is a big win for the base and a monumental step that will further secure its future and thousands of NJ jobs for decades come,” said Smith, who along with Rep. Tom MacArthur (NJ-03) represents the base which overlaps the two adjacent congressional districts.
“With a world-class workforce and a top-rate performance record as the current East Coast air refueling hub, and as the only tri-service joint installation in the nation, JB-MDL has earned this next-gen refueling mission that is so critical to our national security,” he said.
“Securing this vitally important air refueling mission as early as possible not only allows the U.S. military to continue to operate across the Atlantic well into the future, but will also fortify the Joint Base and further protect it from upcoming rounds of base closures,” said Smith, Dean of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation who represents a large portion of the installation.
Smith, who led the delegation letter urging the Air Force to designate JB-MDL in July 2016, has repeatedly stressed that the installation is the ideal location for the new tankers: it is the nation’s only tri-service joint installation; is home to over 80 mission partners that includes active duty, Reserve and Guard units; and is Air Mobility Command’s premier East Coast refueling hub that enables U.S. global reach around the world. He worked with Rep. Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02) on the House Armed Services Committee, and also wrote a letter to the new Secretary of the Air Force last month about JB-MDL.