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Higgins & Jacobs push to bring KC-46A Pegasus aircraft to Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station

Submitted + Updated

Mon, Jun 7th 2021 10:40 am

Western New York base among 6 locations being considered by Air Force to host reserve component

Congress members Brian Higgins and Chris Jacobs are leading a push to have the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) host the next KC-46A Pegasus reserve component.

In a letter to Air Force Reserve Chief Richard Scobee, Higgins and Jacobs pointed out the value of selecting Niagara Falls as a location: “The base is close to superior training airspace above Lake Ontario and Fort Drum and stationing the next KC-46A Pegasus wing at NFARS would provide refueling support to our nation’s eastern seaboard, European Command (EUCOM) and the Arctic Circle. As the Arctic theater grows increasingly contested by revisionist powers, NFARS’ strategic value will only grow.”

The Air Force recently announced the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is among six locations in the running to serve as the next reserve component for the KC-46A. Other locations under consideration include Beale Air Force Base and March Air Reserve Base in California, Grissom Air Reserve Base in Indiana, Joint Base Andrew-Naval Air Field Washington in Maryland and Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma.

Higgins and Jacobs wrote, “Deployment of the KC-46A represents an important opportunity for our nation to enhance the United States’ aerial refueling capabilities, expand mission support to critical national security and humanitarian missions, and support the communities which host important Department of Defense infrastructure. As the Air Force continues its search for the next Air Force Reserve home for the KC-46A Pegasus, we ask that you give serious consideration to NFARS for its established track record of success and support to our nation’s armed forces.”

According to the Air Force, the KC-46A Pegasus “will provide next-generation aerial refueling support to Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and partner-nation receivers.”

A final decision on locations will be made by the fall.

In response, New York State Sen. Sean Ryan said, “I thank Congressman Higgins and Sen. Kennedy for listening to the concerns of many stakeholders and backing away from the Skyway plan.

“We are at a critical moment for the future of Buffalo and Western New York. With the federal government poised to pass a sweeping infrastructure package in the coming months, and a president who is committed to providing funding to restore communities separated by highways, we must focus our attention on plans to remove the Scajaquada and Kensington expressways as they currently exist.

“Restoring Olmsted’s vision will reunite neighborhoods and fix historic injustices. This must be our main focus. As legislators, coming together and putting our full weight behind these projects will be the key to making this vision a reality. We have a unique opportunity to make lasting change that will reshape the future of the City of Buffalo for generations to come.”

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