IN A PERSONAL MEETING WITH ACTING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE PATRICK SHANAHAN, SCHUMER URGES DOD TO EXECUTE CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADES AT NFARS; SAYS IMPROVEMENTS WOULD ENHANCE BASE’S KC-135 TANKER MISSION, PRIME BASE FOR ADDITIONAL MISSIONS
Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, Home To The 914th Refueling Wing’s KC-135 Mission, Is In Need Of Major Infrastructure Improvements To Its Runway, Hangars And Hydrant System
In A Personal Meeting With Acting Secretary Of Defense Patrick Shanahan, Schumer Calls On DOD To Make Key Improvements; Says They Will Prime Base For New KC-46 Tanker Mission
Schumer To DOD: Infrastructure Upgrades Will Keep NFARS At The Pinnacle Of Excellence And Readiness
In a one-on-one meeting with Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer last week urged the Department of Defense (DOD) to work with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to make key and major infrastructure improvements at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS). Schumer explained that NFARS is home to the 914th Refueling Wing’s KC-135 mission and that improvements to the base’s apron, runway, hangars, and hydrant system would greatly benefit their ability to execute this critical mission. Schumer, during his meeting with Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan, said that these infrastructure upgrades would be a significant boost to the base’s capabilities, and even help to optimize the base for a potential KC-46 tanker mission.
“During my meeting with Acting Secretary Shanahan, I made it clear to him that NFARS is still in need of crucial infrastructure upgrades. Improving the runway, hangars, and hydrant system would ensure that the already exceptional NFARS facility and personnel are able to keep performing their key missions and maintain a standard of excellence,” said Senator Schumer. “In fact, not only would these improvements support the base’s KC-135 mission, they would also prime NFARS for a KC-46 tanker mission, bringing more investment, jobs and increased flight hours to the base. I’ve been proud to fight on behalf of this world-class base in the past, and will always work to see that it has the resources it needs to continue thriving.”
Schumer explained that he helped bring the KC-135 tanker fleet back to NFARS after the departure of the C-130 mission. Schumer said that previously, NFARS had been flying aging C-130 tactical airlifters. The USAF eventually upgraded NFARS’s mission to the KC-135 aircraft after Schumer’s push. Schumer has visited NFARS in the past, including in 2017, and he worked with Air Force and National Guard officials to secure funding for a new training facility, building on the structures already in place at NFARS. Also in 2017, Schumer announced that the base would receive eight KC-135 aircraft, which brought nearly $25 million in investment, jobs and increased flight hours.
Schumer’s renewed push comes after he called on the USAF to make these critical infrastructure upgrades at NFARS last October. Additionally, last April, he visited NFARS and called for greater investment in the base. Specifically, Schumer announced a major push to secure nearly $50 million worth of long-overdue upgrades for NFARS. During the visit, Schumer highlighted specific projects that are desperately needed, including upgrades to the main security gate, expansion of the existing runway to better accommodate the base’s new KC-135 mission, and create new state-of-the-art facilities for civil engineering and the Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. On September 27, 2018, Schumer met with Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson in-person to advocate for the infrastructure improvements at NFARS. The infrastructure upgrades called for by Schumer would help to increase NFARS’s aircraft capacity so that the facility would have the flexibility to accept up to 16 KC-135’s, or even KC-46s one day.