Niagara Falls Air Base gets new mission: KC-135s

Posted at 10:31 AM, Feb 04, 2016

The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station has a new mission.

Senator Charles Schumer says eight KC-135 refueling planes will be transferred to the air base refueling planes to the Niagara Falls air base.

The base had an earlier KC-135 tanker mission, but that ended in 2008. Officials say the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is a perfect for this new mission because it already has the infrastructure and workforce needed.

The future of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station has been an ongoing concern in western New York, where it has 3,000 full- and part-time employees. It's so far been spared in military downsizing, but supporters say more missions will improve its chances of surviving future base closings.

The Air Force is in the process of deploying the new KC-46A tanker, which is why it needs new locations to house the KC-135s. Senator Schumer says housing the KC-135s in the Falls will give them a mission that lasts 20 years as they're slowly upgraded to KC-46As.

"After countless phone calls and meetings with some of the Air Force's top brass, I am proud to say KC-135s are coming back to NFARS," said Senator Schumer. "Not only will these tankers help keep people at work, they will enhance the NFARS mission for the next two decades."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with Congressmen Brian Higgins and Chris Collins and the volunteer Niagara Military Affairs Council, were lobbying military leaders for a return of the refueling planes.




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