The US Air Force (USAF) has selected MacDill Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida as the preferred location for the next KC-46A Pegasus aerial refuelling tanker aircraft.

The latest decision was made on 21 December and follows site surveys that evaluated the location.

During the surveys, factors such as environmental considerations, cost, infrastructure capacity, and community support were assessed.

The USAF noted that it will make a final basing decision following an environmental impact analysis (EIA), scheduled to take place in 2023.

A total of 24 KC-46As will replace active-duty KC-135 Stratotankers at the air base.

According to the USAF, the new KC-46A is designed to provide boom and drogue refuelling on the same sortie, support global navigation and communications.

The tanker will also offer receiver air refuelling, enhanced force protection, expanded cargo capacity, and multi-point air refuelling capabilities.

Fairchild AFB in Washington is considered as the alternative candidate location for the KC-46 active-duty component. This base will also undergo an EIA.

In May this year, the names of six candidate locations in the US were announced to host the next Reserve-led KC-46A Pegasus aircraft.

The KC-46A wide-body, multi-mission aircraft is based on the KC-767 refuelling aircraft. It is manufactured by Boeing under a contract with the USAF to transport fuel, cargo, passengers, and patients.