Menendez, Booker, MacArthur, Norcross Announce JBMDL to be Home Base for Next Gen KC-46 Air Refueling Mission
U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, and Congressmen Tom MacArthur (N.J.-03) and Donald Norcross (N.J.-01), announced that New Jersey's Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL) will host the U.S. Air Force's next generation air refueling tankers--the KC-46A. JBMDL is the nation's only tri-service joint installation--home to Air Force, Army and Navy operations--and the second largest employer in New Jersey.
"Today is a great day for Air Mobility Operations at JBMDL and for New Jersey. I am very pleased by the Air Force's decision to base the KC-46 refueling aircraft at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst," said Sen. Menendez. "We have known all along that New Jersey is a prime location for this next generation refueling tanker, and this decision only improves JBMDL's position as a premier power projection platform. I look forward to working with the Air Force to ensure that the hard working men and women of JBMDL continue to have the resources they need to execute their mission, and that JBMDL remains a vital economic engine for New Jersey. Today's decision is a huge step in that direction."
"I applaud the Air Force's decision to designate Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst as a KC-46 Main Operating Base," said Sen. Booker. "JBMDL's strong track record in tanker and airlift operations, its prime location, and the thousands of military flight hours our service men and women perform each year ensures the base is the right choice for the KC-46. I was proud to work with my colleagues in advocating for this designation that will provide the Air Force with critical capability and bring jobs and economic opportunity to JBMDL and New Jersey."
"This is incredible news for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, the state of New Jersey and the future of national security in the United States," said Rep. MacArthur. "I am grateful for the contributions and support of Governor Christie, Lieutenant Governor Guadagno, Senators Booker and Menendez, my colleagues in the House, Congressmen Smith and Norcross, as well as the hundreds of elected officials and community members who joined us in the fight to secure the KC-46. This truly was a team effort, and because of that, over 42,000 New Jersey residents in my district who are employed at the base and the thousands of additional jobs in the surrounding area that rely on its survival can breathe easy knowing the Joint Base will remain our nation's premier air mobility installation by becoming the new home of the KC-46 air-to-air refueling tanker."
"Today's news marks the next chapter in the Joint Base's outstanding service to America, and the future looks strong," Rep. Norcross said. "The hard-working men and women at the base represent the best of the best in New Jersey and the Air Force. Stationing the KC-46 fleet at Joint Base McGuire--Dix--Lakehurst is a recognition of the strategic importance of the base and New Jersey to our country's national security. This will help protect the base from BRAC closure for years to come -- leading to more jobs, greater economic growth and a stronger, safer nation."
The Air Force will house 24 KC-46s each at JBMDL and Travis Air Force Base in California.
In July, the senators led a delegation letter arguing to the Air Force that JBMDL was best positioned to host he KC-46As based upon its strategic location, existing assets and facilities, and ability to seamlessly and most cost-effectively transition from its current mission.
Sen. Menendez met in March with Air Force General Carlton Everhart, the commander of the Air Mobility Command, who has jurisdiction over Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL), to stress the base's strategic role and critical mission to our national and regional security.
In 2015, Sen. Booker wrote to Air Force Secretary Deborah James expressing his strong support for JBMDL in hosting the KC-46, and had a follow-up conversation with Secretary James last November to reaffirm his support for JBMDL's designation.
The Air Force announced last year that is was moving forward with a replacement plan for its aging fleet of air refueling tankers. JBMDL was among the final five bases being considered in a nationwide competition for the next basing round for the KC-46A.
The air refueling mission of the Air Force's Air Mobility Command is a core mission at JBMDL, which is home to the 305th Air Mobility Wing (Active Component) that supports the delivery of cargo and personnel to combatant commanders abroad, and the 514th Air Mobility (Reserve Component). Both units currently fly the KC-10 Extender. The New Jersey Air National Guard's 108th Air Wing flies the KC-135 air refueling tanker.
JBMDL has more than 88 mission partners, and employs and houses more than 42,000 Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, civilians and their family members. It is comprised of almost 4,000 facilities representing $9.3 billion in infrastructure -- and is the second largest employer in New Jersey. Economic analysis reports that JBMDL generates more than $6.9 billion in economic impact for New Jersey every year.