The US Air Force (USAF) has opened a new facility at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma to train aircrew members for the KC-46 Pegasus multirole tanker aircraft.
The Leverett Formal Training Center will train all KC-46 aircrew members in aerial refuelling and joint service operations.
Air Education and Training Command commander lieutenant general Darryl Roberson said: “Today’s event marks an important milestone for (Air Education and Training Command) and the United States Air Force.
“Safety, proficiency and the ability to make the complex seem routine were the hallmark of the Air Force’s refuelling training with Altus (Air Force Base) leading the way.
The USAF has also activated the 56th Air Refueling Squadron (ARS), which will be the formal training unit for the Air Force’s next-generation refuelling aircraft.
ARS commander lieutenant colonel Daniel Ruttenber said: “Members of the 56th ARS are AETC’s and the Air Force’s first KC-46 aircrew members.
“The 56th ARS activation and dedication of the formal training unit is truly a paradigm shift in air refuelling and continuation of the long tradition of the 56th (ARS)."
The 56th ARS will begin training aircrew members this autumn.
KC-46 aircrew students at the facility will use pilot and boom operator simulators to conduct hands-on training before in-flight training missions.
The Boeing-built tanker aircraft has been designed to carry passengers, cargo and patients. It is capable of detecting and defeating threats using multiple layers of protection.
Image: US Senator James Lankford gives a speech at the opening of the new KC-46 training facility. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo / Airman Jackson N. Haddon.