SCHUMER, IN MEETING WITH TOP MILITARY BRASS, URGES DEPT. OF DEFENSE TO PRIOIRITZE THE NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION – SCHUMER SAYS EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE IN WESTERN NEW YORK FACILITY CAN NOW SUPPORT ADDITIONAL, STATE-OF-THE-ART TRANSPORT AIRCRAFTS & MISSIONS
Schumer Arranges Meeting To Urge TRANSCOM Commander Nominee, General Darren McDew, To Include State-Of-The-Art Aircraft At NFARS In Western NY
NFARS Still Flies Outdated Transport Aircraft, Like The C-130H, While Other Bases Around The Country Have Upgraded To Newer Models, Like The C-130J; The NFARS Base Also Previously Housed KC-135 Fleet & Still Has Infrastructure Capability To Do So Again
Schumer: Prioritize Western New York For New & Additional Wings
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, during a personal meeting with top military General Darren McDew, urged the Department of Defense (DOD) to prioritize the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) in Western New York as they are considering bases like NFARS for new missions and as they move around aircraft in the country. During the meeting, Schumer explained that the current aircraft transport fleet at the 914thAirlift Wing at NFARS needs new or additional aircraft. Schumer said that while other bases have upgraded their aircraft transport fleets, NFARS has not been selected to house new missions. This meeting comes as the Air Force’s Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) will make additional decisions on the future of air tanker missions. Schumer said that NFARS, as a joint location used by the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard, is a unique asset to the U.S. military in terms of providing for our nation’s defense, and it should therefore be flying new or additional aircraft.
“NFARS has the infrastructure and is more than capable of handling new and additional aircraft, such as the KC-46A, C-130Js or the KC-135s, and it should be considered a prime location for these aircrafts. That’s why I urged General McDew to phase in new models and prioritize NFARS as a location for additional tankers as other aircraft come online,” said Schumer. “The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is a strategic base for the dedicated men and women serving in both our Air Force and Air National Guard, and this would not only ensure our service members have state-of-the-art transports to serve their needs, but also keep our nation safe.”
NFARS in Western New York is a joint location between the Air Force Reserve and National Guard. However, despite this unique combination, the base’s current fleet includes the C-130H aircraft, which have been flown extensively over a number of years. Technological upgrades have paved the way for newer models, such as the C-130J, KC-46A, to become prominently featured in the fleets of other aircraft bases. Schumer said other bases around the country have upgraded to these newer models like the C-130J, and NFARS should be next on the list for this update. In addition to upgrades to its C-130s, Schumer said NFARS would be more than capable of flying the KC-135, which it has already housed in Western New York in the past. The KC-135 would be compatible with the existing infrastructure already available on base.
Therefore, in a personal meeting with General McDew, the nominee for commander of TRANSCOM, Schumer urged the Air Force to update its aircraft transport as well as bring the KC-135 back to NFARS. Schumer said the Defense Logistics Agency has reported that such a transition could be made for a nominal cost with relative ease. Right now, the 914th Airlift Wing at NFARS is being considered for upgrade of its current fleet of aircraft transports. But the final decision over which “mission” – or aircraft unit – would be phased in will be determined by TRANSCOM. As the nominee to become the commander of TRANSCOM, General McDew will play a leading role in the final decision. Schumer said that because many bases around the country have already upgraded most of their aircraft, NFARS should be next on the list for updates to its C-130 fleet and the return of the KC-135 fleet.
General Darren W. McDew currently serves as the commander of Air Mobility Command, a position he has held since May 2014. On June 4, 2015, President Obama nominated General McDew to take command of the United States Transportation Command. TRANSCOM overseas air, land, and sea transportation for Department of Defense. It also will have final decision-making authority over any new tanker fleet at NFARS.
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