May 22, 2013 at 1:48 pm
the mcconnel air force base appears to have nudged out grand forks as a main operating base for the next generation of kc-46a air refueling tankers. The aircraft will replace the aging kc-135 fleet which have been in the air the past 50 years. The plan is to base up to 36 of the new aircraft at mcconnel starting in 2016. long-time base supporter john marshall says the g-f-a-f-b is still in the running for the next round of tanker missions but that decision is still a year or two out. Marshall says one of the biggest unknowns is how many and how fast the tankers will be built given financial constraints facing all branches of the military. the gfafb currently has a uas mission. the grand forks base has not hosted a tanker mission since 2010.