U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., told the Free Press on Thursday that Selfridge Air National Guard Base will be home to a new squadron of 12 KC-46A refueling tanker aircraft, per a conversation with Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall.
The announcement, Peters said, ensures that Selfridge, based in Harrison Township in Macomb County, will continued to have a flying mission even as the Air Force phases out the current eight KC-135 tankers at the base.
“This is very good news,” said Peters, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who spoke with Kendall along with other members of the state’s congressional delegation on Thursday morning. “The KC-46 is a state-of-the-art aircraft… It is more advanced than the KC-135 and is likely to be in service for the next 50 years.”
Peters also said there will be more personnel associated with the new squadron since there are more aircraft involved but he couldn’t say what the difference would be precisely. He also said he expects the new aircraft to begin being deployed at Selfridge later this decade, possibly in 2028.
Peters and the rest of the delegation continue to press the Air Force to base a new fighter mission at Selfridge as well, with the Air Force still phasing out the A-10 Warthogs based there.
“We’re also fighting to get a new fighter mission. That’s still going on,” Peters told the Free Press, adding that he got Kendall’s commitment than the announcement of the new refueling tankers “doesn’t remove us from consideration for a manned fighter mission.”
Contact Todd Spangler: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @tsspangler.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Selfridge to get new squadron of refueling tankers