The US Air Force (USAF) has revealed plans to add an active-duty component to its existing Air National Guard (ANG) KC-135 Stratotanker squadron.
The addition will increase the size of the unit located at Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) in Alaska, US.
The tanker force expansion in Alaska supports the ‘2019 Department of Defense Arctic Strategy’. It addresses ‘new and emerging threats’ in the Asia-Pacific region.
The strategy outlines the service’s role and efforts to optimise USAF and the US Space Force capabilities throughout the region in support of the National Defense Strategy.
Under the plans, four additional KC-135s and nearly 220 more active-duty workforces will be added to make it a total force unit.
This will see the count of the squadron’s total KC-135 aircraft increase to 12.
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The first aircraft is expected to arrive in FY-2023.
It is, however, subject to the output of the required environmental impact analysis.
The USAF also noted that the ‘personnel will be reassigned from within the airforce’.
Boeing built 732 KC-135 Stratotankers for the USAF between 1957 and 1965. It provides the core aerial refuelling capability for the USAF, as well as the US Navy, US Marine Corps and allied nation aircraft.
The KC-135 can be deployed for aeromedical evacuations to transport litter and ambulatory patients.
In January, the USAF awarded CAE USA an eight-year contract to continue providing complete KC-135 aircrew training services.