Seeking Bases for Liberty

The Air Force on Friday announced it had formally started the clock in a search for basing locations for the MC-12W Liberty Project aircraft, which already are serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. According to the announcement, the basing criteria the service will use include mission and training requirements, airspace, infrastructure, environmental concerns, and cost. Currently, the only stateside-based MC-12s are with the Mississippi Air National Guard’s 186th Air Refueling Wing, which USAF tapped early last year to serve as a temporary training site to help speed delivery of crews to combat operations. Air Combat Command will develop a candidate list of potential bases, at which point the environmental process will start and so will community participation. Later this summer, USAF expects to release its preferred locations and in April 2011, the service should release its list of final selections.