Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer
After lobbying the Pentagon to award Boeing a contract for its 767-based refueling tankers, Washington’s Congressional delegation has a new request: station those tankers at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane.
Boeing will begin delivering the initial batch of 18 767-based tankers, which the Air Force has designated KC-46A tankers, in 2016. The company beat rival EADS in 2011 for the $35 billion deal to replace 179 of the Air Force’s aging KC-135 tankers.
Washington’s senators and representatives in Congress recently sent Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley a letter urging him to pick Fairchild as the home of those KC-46A tankers.
“Fairchild Air Force Base has been a historic part of our nation’s aerial refueling effort and is well positioned to achieve global-level reach, especially to the emerging Asia-Pacific theater,” the delegation wrote.
The Air Force recently laid out the criteria it will use in selecting a base for the tankers.
Washington’s delegation believes Fairchild meets those specifications.
The base has the capacity to handle the new tankers, having recently “improved the 14,000 foot runway, invested in a new, state-of-the-art fitness center, and last month broke ground on a new wing command headquarters,” they wrote.