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Wednesday, Oct 01, 2014
Military News

MacDill may get $32 million in upgrades for new jets

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MacDill Air Force Base will likely receive about $32 million in upgrades to accommodate eight new KC-135 refueling jets scheduled to arrive here over the next few years, according to U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor.

Castor, who hosted a bipartisan meeting between Tampa’s Congressional delegation and a top Air Force official on Tuesday, said that the delegation was advised about the needed infrastructure improvements by Kathleen Ferguson, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics.

Ferguson advised that $32 million in infrastructure upgrades to prepare for the additional aircraft likely will be programmed in the next couple of fiscal years, Castor said in the media release.

“I expressed the need to begin construction of these upgrades soon so they are completed on time for the arrival of the KC-135s and that future basing of the new KC-46s should be a consideration,” Castor said in a media release. “We are fortunate to have community-wide, bipartisan support for an expanded air mobility mission at MacDill (and we will continue to play offense at a time when DOD budgets are shrinking.”

MacDill officials could not be reached for comment late Tuesday afternoon.

The base is currently home to 16 of the Eisenhower-era tanker jets.

“We are unified in our support for the missions at MacDill Air Force Base and focused on the infrastructure updates needed for the new KC-135 tanker aircraft which are scheduled to arrive at MacDill sometime in late 2017 or early 2018,” Castor said in a media release. “We also are mindful that additional aircraft and personnel means economic expansion and jobs for the Tampa Bay area. MacDill missions support Tampa Bay businesses large and small, so ensuring MacDill’s vitality helps to sustain the vitality of our local economy.”

Castor, a Democrat, was joined in the meeting by Republican U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, David Jolly, Richard Nugent and Dennis Ross.

Ferguson advised that $32 million in infrastructure upgrades to prepare for the additional aircraft likely will be programmed in the next couple of fiscal years.

MacDill, home to U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, the 6th Air Mobility Wing, the 927th Air Refueling Wing, the Joint Communications Support Element and more than 30 other mission partners, has more than 13,000 military and civilian personnel.

haltman@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7629

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