Today the Air Force announced the list of military bases that are candidates to receive the next round of KC-46 tankers, and included Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB-MDL) as one of 11 installations to be considered for the “Main Operating Base 4” (MOB4) designation.
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, Dean of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation who represents a large portion of JB-MDL, is enthusiastic about New Jersey’s chances to land the newest tanker in the Air Force.
“Three years ago, the Joint Base narrowly lost out on becoming the first National Guard base to host the KC-46 tankers—making it to the final round after the original 80 installations were reviewed,” Smith said. “Today’s decision demonstrates that our efforts to highlight the capabilities of JB-MDL—during that process and in ongoing conversations—left a positive impression within the Air Force leadership regarding the installation’s capabilities and missions, and the valuable human capital that supports them.
Smith said that JB-MDL has long been a main tanker base in the United States, at one point simultaneously hosting more than 30 KC-10s Extenders shared by Air Reserve and active duty personnel, and more than 20 KC-135 Stratotankers operated by the New Jersey National Guard. It currently has 32 KC-10 and eight KC-135s.
“JB-MDL is the nation’s only tri-service joint installation, host to active duty, Reserve and Guard units, and Air Mobility Command’s premier East Coast refueling hub,” said Smith. “I am confident that after an objective and thorough review, the Joint Base will once again be given serious consideration and hopefully, ultimately chosen as MOB4.
“I look forward to working with Joint Base and Air Force officials, our local community and the delegation to continue to make the case for this and other missions to be located in New Jersey.”
JB MDL is joined by 10 other installations in the running: Dover AFB, Dyess AFB, Fairchild AFB, Grand Forks AFB, JB Charleston, JB Lewis McChord, Little Rock AFB, MacDill AFB, Scott AFB and Travis AFB.
A list of approved candidates is scheduled to be announced this spring with a final basing decision expected by the end of next year.