U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford (R-Okla.), Governor Kevin Stitt and Congressman Frank Lucas celebrated the delivery of the second KC-46 in the country and the first delivery for a training mission today. Altus Air Force Base is home to the training mission for the KC-46 tanker, the next generation of aerial refueling, and maintenance will be done at Tinker Air Force Base near Oklahoma City.
“Today’s delivery of the KC-46 marks the beginning of a new, long-awaited chapter for Altus Air Force Base and all of Oklahoma. I want to thank the community of Altus, current and former base commanders and all military and civilian leaders who worked tirelessly to make today possible,” Inhofe said.
“This is more than just the start of a new mission for Altus and Tinker—it clearly demonstrates that Oklahoma is home to the future of the Air Force. That isn’t accidental, it is the result of a highly skilled workforce, excellent base leadership and the impressive community support for our military.”
“I am honored today to join my colleagues, Senator Inhofe and Rep. Lucas, to welcome the KC-46A Pegasus tanker home to Altus Air Force Base,” said Lankford. “Altus already provides vitally important training on the KC-135 and the C-17, and the addition of the KC-46A will ensure the Air Force can meet its mission to fly, fight and win for years to come. The Base and the community of Altus have been preparing for the KC-46A’s arrival for years, so this is a huge day for the Airmen and women and civilians who serve our nation. This is certainly an exciting day for the entire state of Oklahoma. I want to specifically thank Senator Inhofe for his tireless work on behalf of the Base as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Congratulations to Altus Air Force Base, the men and women who serve there, and the Altus community on this momentous day in Air Force history.”
“We are thankful for Senator Jim Inhofe’s unwavering dedication to the people of Oklahoma and his hard work to secure the KC-46 unit in our state,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “The arrival of the KC-46A Tanker at the Altus Air Force Base ushers in a new era of advanced refueling capabilities for our air mobility fleet. Today’s arrival is a significant benefit to our entire state, as the training will take place in Altus and the maintenance of this aircraft will take place in Oklahoma City at Tinker. This mission will provide economic benefits and quality jobs for Oklahoma for many years to come.”
“I am excited to be part of this historic moment for Altus Air Force Base,” said Congressman Frank Lucas. “Altus has a proven track record for training pilots on the KC-135 and C-17. With the addition of the KC-46A, Altus is on the forefront of the Air Force’s modernization effort. The Altus community has always rallied around the base, and because of that support, the base has been able to thrive and become an essential part of the Air Force’s mission.”
Since 2006, Sen. Inhofe has been a consistent leader for the KC-46 program and for ensuring that the training and maintenance missions would be based in Oklahoma. In addition to his work to ensure that the KC-46 mission was fully funded in the annual National Defense Authorization Act and regular engagement with Air Force leaders, Inhofe also:
- 2007 - Inhofe put a marker down and pledged to make sure Altus would receive the next generation of the KC-135.
- 2008-Inhofe recognized the announcement of the tanker contract award, immediately putting Altus’ potential role front and center.
- 2008- Inhofe worked to make sure the future tanker contract would be able to proceed, after it was held up by Secretary Gates.
- 2009- Inhofe announced that a new reserve squadron was opened at Altus to complement the existing mission, making it more competitive in the KC-46 basing decision.
- 2013 – Inhofe ensured that Altus was a candidate for the site selection when the Air Force was making formal decision.
- 2013 – Formal announcement that KC-46 training unit would be based in Altus, bringing jobs and new military construction.
- 2014 – Inhofe ensured a timely completion of the environmental impact statement so the 2013 selection could be confirmed.
- 2019 – Inhofe flew the first tanker into Altus Air Force base to mark the start of the KC-46 mission, just as he flew in the first C-17 to begin that successful program.