04.23.18

STANDING AT NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, SCHUMER LAUNCHES MAJOR PUSH TO SECURE NEARLY $50 MILLION WORTH OF LONG-OVERDUE UPGRADES; SENATOR SAYS FED INVESTMENT COULD IMPROVE NFAR’S CAPABILITIES, HELP OUR SERVICE MEMBERS, CREATE NEW LOCAL JOBS AND INJECT NEW LIFE INTO NIAGARA COUNTY

Schumer: NFARS Upgrades Will Help protect the base, Protect Local Jobs, & Enhance the Capabilities of the Units Serving at NFARS 

Standing at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) in Niagara County, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced a major push to secure nearly $50 million worth of long-overdue upgrades for NFARS. Schumer highlighted specific projects that are desperately needed, including funding to upgrade the main security gate, expand 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. Schumer said projects like these are essential to keep base personnel safe, protect the base’s viability, create new jobs, and sustain the nearly 2,600 existing jobs at NFARS. Schumer also noted that base upgrades will not only support the current KC-135 mission but could also support possible future growth of that mission, as well as potential additional missions such as the KC-46.

“With the KC-135s finally flying in and out of NFARS, there is a real opportunity to ride on the wing of success to bring even more federal investment opportunities to NFARS,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why I am launching a major multiyear push to secure nearly $50 million of new economic fuel to fund long-overdue projects like fortifying and updating the main security gate – which currently poses a security risk to the base, expand the existing runway, and create a new state-of-art Aeromedical Evacuation Operations Facility, which supports flying medical workers responsible for caring for wounded personnel.”

Schumer released the following list of NFARS projects that are long overdue for upgrades:

  • Runway Extension: Currently, the KC-135s have to back up and turn around in order to get off the runway, causing delays and limiting quick takeoff and landing of missions.
  • Main gate Security Upgrade: The space between the guard station and the barrier is too short and poses a security risk to the base.
  • Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron Operations Facility: The existing clinic is outdated and is considered beyond repair.
  • Explosive Munitions Storage Building: Munitions are not currently in a centralized, feasible location. The new project would include a 1,100 square foot maintenance building, plus 3 igloos. 
  • Communications Squadron Building: This building has not been able to keep up with changing technology. The facility cannot handle the electric or the heating/cooling systems they now need.
  • Stormwater Management Facility: Current stormwater management could be more environmentally friendly.
  • Civil Engineering building: This building has not been updated since the 1950’s.

Schumer continued: “One of my top priorities for Niagara County and Western New York is to strengthen NFARS and do everything possible to protect nearly 2,600 jobs sustained by the base. I believe we have a real opportunity to secure new and additional federal investments for NFARS.” 

Schumer said that he will push for these upgrades to be prioritized by the Air Force. He is calling on the Secretary of the of Air Force to ensure these projects are added to the Future Years Defense Program as soon as next fiscal year.

Schumer explained that he helped bring the KC-135 tanker fleet back to NFARS after the departure of the C-130 mission. Schumer explained that previously, NFARS had been flying aging C-130 tactical airlifters. The Air Force upgraded NFARS’s mission to the KC-135 aircraft after the Senator’s urging. Schumer has visited NFARS in the past, including last year, and worked with Air Force and National Guard officials to secure funding for the new training facility, building on the structures already in place at NFARS.  Last year, Schumer announced that the base would receive eight KC-135 aircrafts, which brought nearly $25 million in investments, jobs, and increased flight hours.  During his visit today, Schumer said that the next step is to secure even more investment opportunities to give NFARS all the tools needed to adequately train, protect and take care of pilots from across the country.

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