March ARB Named Preferred Location for New KC-46 Tankers

The Air Force selected March Air Reserve Base, Calif., as the preferred location to host the Air Force Reserve’s next KC-46 tankers. 

A final basing decision is expected in the fall of 2023 after an environmental impact analysis. If approved, the Air Force will replace March’s KC-135 Stratotankers with 12 new tankers. 

The decision was based on site surveys, assessing “mission, infrastructure capacity, community support, environmental considerations, and cost,” according to a Jan. 24 press release

March beat out Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind.; Joint Base Andrews, Md.; Niagara Falls Air Reserve Base, N.Y.; and Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., which also were named candidate locations in May 2021. Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., already hosts Reserve KC-46s. 

MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., was picked as the preferred location for the next Active-duty KC-46 base in December 2021. The Air Force already fields Active-duty KC-46s at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.; and Air National Guard KC-46s at Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. Travis Air Force Base, Calif., also has been selected to receive Pegasus tankers in the coming years. 

The Air Force plans to buy 179 of the new tankers, though the program has hit several stumbling blocks, mostly with its remote vision system—a suite of cameras and sensors connecting the refueling boom with an operator inside the aircraft. 

Air Mobility Command told Defense News earlier this month that the service has yet to accept the completed design of the revamped RVS system or close its preliminary design review, which was originally slated to close in the fall of 2021. However, AMC spokesperson Hope Cronin said the overall development of RVS 2.0 remains on schedule, according to Defense News.