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Performance of 157th Air Refueling Wing, Pease’s Strategic Location, and Consistent Advocacy of Senators Leads to Major Announcement Significant Long-Term Benefits to New Hampshire Economy Expected to Receive KC-46A Aircraft in Fiscal Year 2018

MANCHESTER, NH – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today welcomed the Air Force’s announcement that Pease Air National Guard Base – home to the 157th Air Refueling Wing – has been officially selected to receive the new KC-46A  air refueling tanker.  The Senators have advocated for Pease to receive the tanker since 2011.

“The official selection of Pease to be the home of the KC-46As is a testament to the 157th Air Refueling Wing’s exceptional record of service,” Senator Shaheen said. “Aerial refueling is a vital component of our military’s ability to operate around the world, and the new KC-46As at Pease will serve our national defense and local economy well for years to come. I want to congratulate all the men and women at Pease for this extraordinary recognition and look forward to continuing to support all of their efforts.”

“Since 2011, it is has been my privilege to consistently highlight the157th Air Refueling Wing’s exceptional performance and the strategic location of Pease,” said Senator Ayotte. “For decades to come, the KC-46As at Pease will provide critical support and significant capabilities that are important to our men and women in uniform, bolstering our military readiness. I’m deeply proud of the 157th Air Refueling Wing, whose professionalism and performance made Pease the obvious choice to receive this new tanker.”

Colonel Paul Hutchinson, Commander of the 157th Air Refueling Wing, said, “The Air Force's decision to base the KC-46A Pegasus at Pease Air National Guard Base is the culmination of many years of dedicated service by the total force airmen who support both our state and federal missions and ensure the national security requirements of our country in the northeast United States will be met for many decades.  Here in the 157th Air Refueling Wing we are blessed and grateful for the unwavering support of Governor Hassan, the New Hampshire Executive Council and many local community leaders in the seacoast area.  Nationally Senator Shaheen, Senator Ayotte, and Congresswomen Shea-Porter and McLane Kuster, have been champions of our airmen ensuring the great work accomplished at Pease is heard in Washington.  I want to personally thank all of our airmen, our state leadership and local supporters and especially our congressional representatives for making today a reality; it was a great team effort.”

Last year, Shaheen and Ayotte announced that the Air Force had selected Pease as the top Air National Guard base to receive the KC-46A tanker, pending a successful outcome of an environmental impact study.  

Since 2011, Shaheen and Ayotte have used letters, meetings, and Senate Armed Service Committee hearings to advocate for Pease and the 157th Air Refueling Wing to receive the KC-46A.   In May, the New Hampshire congressional delegation hosted Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James at Pease for a facility tour and meetings with members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing.

The president's Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget request calls for $41.9 million in military construction dollars for Pease Air National Guard base to prepare for KC-46A operations. In May, the Readiness subcommittee, which Shaheen and Ayotte lead and which oversees military construction, authorized $41.9 million for facilities construction at Pease Air National Guard base in preparation for receiving the KC-46A tanker.

Pease is slated to receive up to 12 KC-46A aircraft beginning in fiscal year 2018.