SCHUMER, IN MEETING WITH U.S. AIR FORCE GENERAL EVERHART, COMMANDER OF AIR MOBILITY, URGES HIM TO BRING THE KC-135 FLEET BACK TO NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION– SCHUMER SAYS EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE MAKES NFARS A PERFECT FIT FOR SUPPORTING ADDITIONAL TRANSPORT AIRCRAFT & MISSIONS
During In-Person Meeting With General Everhart, Commander of the Air Mobility Command for the USAF, Schumer Urges Him to Bring the KC-135 Back to NFARS – Says NFARS Is Strategically Located Along Five Refueling Routes & Has The Ability to Assist Aircraft Flying from All Northeastern USAF Bases
NFARS Previously Flew KC-135 And Has Existing Infrastructure That Would Enable Base To Once Again Be The Home To This Air Force Tanker Which Has Proven Its Enduring Value Over Time
Schumer: KC-135 Fleet Would Help Support Base’s Strategic Location And Critical Role In Protecting National Security
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, during a personal meeting with General Everhart, Commander of the Air Mobility Command for the U.S. Air Force (USAF), urged the USAF to prioritize the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) in Western New York as they are considering bases for new missions. Specifically, Schumer urged him to consider NFARS as the next home for KC-135 tankers as they rebase aircraft around the country as a newer tanker fleet is deployed. Schumer explained that, until 2008, the KC-135 was flown out of NFARS, and it still has infrastructure that would allow it to take on this mission again as the USAF deploys the new KC-46A tanker and needs new locations to house KC-135s that are being displaced. In addition to being a cost-effective option, Schumer said that NFARS’ strategic location near five potential refueling routes, and a large contingent of potential customers makes it a very strong choice to better serve the USAF.
“The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station plays a critical role in our national security and provides many good-paying jobs in Western New York. Its strategic location and existing infrastructure makes it the perfect location to house KC-135 tankers again. That’s why I urged General Everhart to prioritize NFARS when it comes to bringing this aircraft back to its rightful home,” said Schumer. “NFARS is a strategic base for the dedicated men and women serving in both our Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard, and this would not only ensure our service members have state-of-the-art aircraft to serve their needs, but also keep our nation safe.”
NFARS is a joint location, hosting both the USAF Reserve and Air National Guard. The base’s current fleet only includes the C-130H aircraft, which have been flown extensively over a number of years, and the MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft. Technological upgrades have paved the way for a newer model of tankers, the KC-46A, to become prominently featured in the fleets at other bases. Schumer said NFARS would be more than capable of flying the KC-135, which it has already flown in the past, as the Air Force looks to deploy the KC-46A and redeploy the existing KC-135 fleet. Schumer said that NFARS features infrastructure associated with housing tankers, including a $26 million dollar aircraft refueling system. This would make the transition of these aircraft to NFARS easy and financially beneficial to the USAF.
Schumer said that the base’s location would allow these tankers to refuel other military aircraft flying out of any base in the Northeastern United States. This would increase the operational capability of NFARS, allowing for a greater number and wider variety of missions to be flown out of the region. Schumer explained that NFARS is also the largest employer in Niagara County, with a total economic impact of more than $143 million annually, and adding aircraft to the base’s fleet would help to increase its local economic contribution. The base functions as a joint military and civilian use international airport with the military providing snow removal, maintenance support, fire crash and rescue and weather support.
During an in-person meeting with General Everhart, Schumer urged the USAF to consider NFARS as a as a home for the KC-135. USAF’s Air Mobility Command is responsible for providing worldwide cargo and passenger delivery for all the military services, in addition to air refueling and aeromedical evacuation.
Schumer has long fought to bring the KC-135 tanker fleet back to NFARS. In October, Schumer urged Lieutenant General James Jackson, Chief of the USAF Reserve, to consider NFARS as the next home for KC-135 tankers. In July, Schumer met with General McDew, the Commander of U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), for the Department of Defense and urged him to support updating the base’s aircraft transport fleet as well as bring the KC-135 back to NFARS. 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.
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