SPOKANE, Wash. - Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) says Air Force representatives have told her Fairchild AFB in Spokane will be getting new aerial refueling tankers, even though the military went with McConnell AFB in Kansas as the primary base for its new fleet.
In an interview on KREM 2 News, McMorris said this is just the first round of doling out tankers to the four candidate bases across the country. She says McConnell AFB in Wichita, KS will get the first 36 of at total of 179 of the new KC-46A tankers.
We asked the congresswoman if she sees any scenario where Fairchild is excluded entirely from the Air Force's refueling program.
"I heard only the opposite when I have been down to the Pentagon and regular visits, Fairchild is recognized as a great base, with a great mission. They emphasized to me that Fairchild is going to get tankers, it's just a matter of time.", said McMorris-Rogers.
But McMorris-Rodgers said she could not say when, or how many of the new tankers might be coming to Fairchild. She says the process will play out "in the next few years". The next step is an environmental assessment of each of the four candidate bases.
But the decision is already a costly one, with reports the Air Force will spend $192 million dollars to upgrade McConnell AFB.
Fairchild Air Force Base is the single-largest employer in the Spokane area.