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Ribbon cutting marks official unveiling of the new KC-46A campus

An image from the KC-46 Pegasus Campus ribbon cutting

Cathy O'Connor, president and CEO of Alliance for Economic Development for Oklahoma City Inc.; Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce; Brig. Gen. John Newberry, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Tankers, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center; Oklahoma Senator James Lankford; Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe; Brig. Gen. Chris Hill, commander of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex; Col. Paul Filcek, commander of the 72nd Air Base Wing; and Lt. Gen. Gene Kirkland, commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony for Tinker Air Force Base's KC-46A Pegasus Campus. The single bay hangar in which the ceremony was held in is the first of 14 hangars to be completed, with a double bay hangar opening in early spring/summer of 2020. The 156-acre campus will also contain ramp parking, aircraft engine runoff spots and software integration labs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

An image from the KC-46 Pegasus Campus ribbon cutting

72nd Air Base Wing Commander Col. Paul Filcek listens while Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe speaks at a press conference for Tinker Air Force Base's 156-acre KC-46A Pegasus Campus Oct. 18. The senator compared the significance of the event to 60 years ago when the KC-135 Stratotanker first came to Tinker. While the KC-46A is the first phase of a 3-phase effort to replace the Air Force's aging tanker fleet, he noted that with the addition of Pegasus, it will hopefully secure Tinker for the 60 years. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

Air Force and state leaders gathered Oct. 18 at Tinker Air Force Base’s new KC-46A Pegasus campus for the official ribbon cutting of the first of 14 hangars that will accommodate the installation in providing depot maintenance for the new tanker.

Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex Commander, Brig. Gen. Chris Hill, said that the KC-46 campus represents a new chapter in Tinker’s history and marks the significance of Tinker’s role in supporting and sustaining the future rapidly growing mobility of the Air Force.

“Tinker’s selection to maintain and sustain the KC-46A Pegasus tanker assures the viability of this mission, of delivering warfighter capability and readiness to the Air Force and combatant commanders around the world,” Hill said.

Hill added that both the campus and the tanker represents the first time in the history of the Air Force that a commercial derivative aircraft will be sustained from day one at an Air Force organic maintenance and repair depot.

The single-largest construction project to hit Tinker AFB since the 1940s, planning for the new campus began more than a decade ago. The addition is tailored to provide maintenance for the new KC-46 tanker, which is slated to completely replace the KC-135 by 2028.

Sen. James Lankford, Oklahoma’s junior senator, said that the campus is a significant moment for the state and region, as well as for job production, and created a signature for the professionals at Tinker.

“When ‘Big Air Force’ looks to note where the best place to do maintenance and where they can get the job done, they can look to the professionals here in Oklahoma and see that they’re doing excellent work and say, ‘Let’s expand that,’” Lankford said.

Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, the state’s senior senator and chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, said that the campus was a great opportunity for Oklahoma and represented the opportunity for another 60 years of investment in the state.

“This is a truly great project, not just for Tinker, but for all of Oklahoma,” Inhofe said.

The new 156-acre maintenance campus will eventually boast 14 hangars, single-bay and double-bay, with facilities to handle maintenance, repair and modification operations. The campus will also feature a system integration laboratory and new taxiway, as well as a substantial area remaining for future expansion.

The first KC-46A to receive maintenance at the campus is anticipated to arrive in June 2020 and the next leg of the construction project will get underway in Fiscal Year 2020. A two-bay hangar is currently 85% complete and is expected to be finished in the coming months.