Whereas the KC-46’s presence continues to rise, the times of the KC-135 and KC-10 tankers at JB MDL are numbered.
It has been 5 years since JB MDL has final opened its gates for an Air & Area Open Home. In response to USAF Main Gina Kelaher – Deputy Air Present Director, the bottom, dwelling of the 305th Air Mobility Wing, had plans to open its doorways in 2020 however the international Coronavirus Pandemic halted these plans. As an alternative the bottom pivoted to obtain Joint Activity Power – Civil Help and assist humanitarian operations in New York Metropolis.
As soon as once more in 2022 the bottom was planning an open home, nonetheless the set up’s heavy involvement within the Non-Combatant Evacuation of personnel from Afghanistan during Operation Allies Refuge and the next Operation Allies Welcome within the fall of 2021 prevented that present from occurring. So whereas the bottom needed to cancel two exhibits it’s clear they’re, and proceed to be, on the forefront of world occasions.
Additionally in the course of the previous 5 years the bases personal Air Power tanker fleet has seen a lot exercise and alter. New coaching and infrastructure work was in course of throughout that point, all in preparation for the brand new Boeing KC-46 Pegasus, which replaces the Air Forces present legacy tankers. The times of the legendary workhorse tankers, KC-135 and KC-10, are numbered. The truth is, on Could 11, 2023, a KC-10 tanker of the 305th AMW took off on a coaching sortie from the bottom for the ultimate time. Subsequently the KC-10s being demonstrated on the Open Home have been flying for the final time till June 22 , when the bases ultimate KC-10 heads to Davis-Monthan AFB to retire at their big “Boneyard” facility.
As of final weekend’s airshow there are three KC-10s at JB MDL and this is without doubt one of the causes the airshow was so vital and bittersweet for East Coast KC-10 followers. Going ahead the one different base that can function KC-10s is Travis AFB in Northern California. So far as base statistics on the present crop of KC-46s on the Joint Base, the 305th AMW has 13 Pegasus tankers with plans to obtain 11 extra by fiscal yr 2026. It needs to be famous that McGuire is the one Lively-Responsibility base on the East Coast of america with the sort.
And what concerning the plans for JB MDL’s KC-135s of the New Jersey Air Nationwide Guards 141st Air Refueling Squadron? Effectively its footprint is shrinking. The bottom at present has 6x KC-135’s and, by September of this yr, sadly, they too might be gone from the set up. The present plan is to maneuver these airframes to energetic and guard squadrons all through the Air Power. Going ahead the 141st at JB MDL might be sharing the bases KC-46s, with KC-46 coaching at present in course of for the NJ ANG.
Actually by the shut of this yr the complete Air Power tanker fleet at JB MDL might be a single kind airframe. Whether or not this seems to be a profit or not for the Air Power stays to be seen. One factor is for sure although, the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus has enormous footwear to fill because it replaces tankers that attained extraordinarily excessive requirements for a lot of, many many years.