Air National Guard unit in Moon on list of candidates for new tanker plane
By Tom Fontaine
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 7:28 p.m.
The Pennsylvania Air National Guard's 171st Air Refueling Wing in Findlay is in the running to become a base for the new KC-46A tanker, the Air Force said Wednesday.
“It's great news for the 171st to even be considered as a possibility,” said a base spokeswoman, Capt. Dicie Hritz.
She declined further comment, noting base leaders had not reviewed details of the competition for the new tanker, which will be able to carry more fuel and cargo than its predecessor, the KC-135. The 171st is home to 16 of the 1950s-era KC-135s.
The Air Force said in a news release that it plans to establish two operating bases for the KC-46A, one run by the active-duty Air Force and one by the Air National Guard. It also will set up a training base.
The 171st is one of five Air National Guard bases competing to become the guard's lone KC-46A operating base.
Military officials plan to tour all candidate facilities, then develop cost estimates for basing the new planes at each of the locations. The Air Force plans to announce its preferred locations, along with possible alternatives, this spring.
The chosen training base and active-duty Air Force base will begin receiving the new tankers during the 2016 fiscal year, while the Air National Guard base that is chosen will start getting them in the 2018 fiscal year, the Air Force said. It did not say how many tankers each base would receive.
Sens. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, and Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, lauded the Air Force for including the 171st in the study.
“Becoming a finalist for these new aircraft is further vindication of the skilled workforce at the 171st,” Casey said. Added Toomey, “Our national security would be well-served by fielding this outstanding aircraft to an exceptional unit — Pittsburgh's 171st Air Refueling Wing.”
“Having the 171st Air National Guard in the running for new refueling tankers ... is a positive development for our region and a testament to the strong work of our local guardsmen,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair.
A military cost-cutting plan announced last year could result in closure of that base. A decision could be made as early as March.
Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Likely loss of Steelers draft pick looms because of Tomlin misstep
- Aliquippa RB Swanson commits to Toledo
- Rossi: Penguins’ Orpik among select NHLers going without gluten
- Penguins’ Orpik taken off ice on stretcher in loss to Bruins
- Worst of winter storm expected to miss Pittsburgh
- Nelson Mandela: The real legacy
- Breaking down the Pirates’ needs entering winter meetings
- State police kill knife-wielding suspect in child abduction from Brentwood
- Steelers’ playoff hopes all but gone in loss to Dolphins
- Controversial Rooney Rule has opened door for NFL minority coaching candidates
- Four injured in Ambridge bar shooting overnight