The Air Force has notified Congress that it will establish the C-27J training schoolhouse at Key Field Air National Guard Base in Meridian, Miss., home of the 186th Air Refueling Wing. The service will bed down personnel and two C-27J transports there in the second half of 2014 to train C-27 pilots, loadmasters, and maintenance crews, according to a joint statement issued by Mississippi lawmakers. The training mission will be fully operational in 2015 with 142 personnel. Key Field is already slated to host four operational C-27s starting in early Fiscal 2012, giving the base six of the 38 C-27s that the Air Guard will operate. Last December, the Air Force identified Key Field as its preferred training site, pending the completion of an environmental impact study. The study found that the training mission would have “no significant impact,” said the lawmakers.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.