WITH AIR FORCE DECISION IMMINENT ON FINALISTS FOR KC-46A BED DOWN, SCHUMER MAKES CALL TO AIR FORCE SECRETARY URGING HER TO PUT NFARS ON THE SHORT LIST – SCHUMER SAYS NFARS WOULD BE A GREAT HOME FOR NEW KC-46A TANKERS
Schumer Called Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James To Urge Her To Strongly Support The Selection Of Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) For The Final Round Of Bases To Get A Site Survey For Air Force Tanker Plane Called The KC-46A
Schumer Says Niagara Falls Air Station Is In A Strategically Valuable Location And Plays A Critical Role In Our National Security
Schumer To Air Force Secretary: Make NFARS A Finalist for KC-46A Tankers
With the Air Force set to decide in the coming weeks on its short list of bases to host the new KC-46A mission, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer personally called Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James to urge her to strongly consider adding Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) to the list of bases to receive the final base inspection for stationing the KC-46A tanker. By mid-April, the Air Force will select 2 to 4 bases and move to the final selection phase that evaluates each potential site more closely.
“I made it clear to Secretary James that she should give strong consideration to choosing NFARS to be on the final list of bases. This would have a tremendous impact on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station and the surrounding community,” said Senator Schumer. “NFARS plays a critical role in our national security and is a major employer in Western New York. The base is in a strong strategic location that is home to a first-class, highly educated workforce. NFARS would be the perfect host station for these new refuel tankers.”
Back in February, Senator Schumer along with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Representative Chris Collins, and Representative Brian Higgins sent a letter to Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh and Chief of the Air Force Reserve Lieutenant General James Jackson. The joint letter asked for their support to back NFARS’s candidacy in KC-46A tanker selection process. The joint letter argued that the base is already equipped with many of the components needed to hold the refuel tankers and is therefore a cost effective choice. Schumer also discussed NFARS’ candidacy to host this mission during a one-on-one meeting with Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
NFARS has many advantages for the KC46 tanker mission, making the Niagara Falls Air Station the best place for the bed down. For example, the KC-135 was previously flown from this base, and most of the infrastructure is still intact or could be reasonably restored with comparatively low repair costs. NFARS also features a $26 million dollar aircraft refueling system, already in place. Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is the largest employer in Niagara County, with a total economic impact of more than $143 million annually. The base is a joint location between the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard. Additionally, it is a joint military and civilian use international airport with the military providing snow removal, grass cutting, maintenance support, fire crash and rescue and weather support.
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