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SOUTHWESTERN DIVISION

CONSTRUCTION OF KC-46A CAMPUS AT TINKER REMAINS ON TASK DESPITE PANDEMIC

U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY STACEY REESE

BY STACE Y REESE, Tulsa District

Construction is nearing completion on the two-bay multipurpose hangar at Tinker Air Force Base (AFB) near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This hangar, when finished, will be part of the maintenance facility for the Air Force’s new KC-46A Pegasus 158-acre campus, which will support Tinker AFB’s long-term sustainment and depot maintenance of the new aircraft, eventually leading to the creation of an estimated 1,300 jobs.

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hat was once an abandoned railyard is now a complex construction site with multiple projects on Tinker Air Force Base (AFB) near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The site is home to the multiphase project for the main maintenance facility of the KC-46A, the Air Force’s newest aerial refueling tank. The first hangar on this 158-acre campus, which will house the maintenance hub for the KC-46A Pegasus, was completed in October 2019. Construction workers first broke ground on the new hangar complex in 2016. The hangar is the first of 14 dock spaces for the KC-46. “Although [COVID-19] has halted many things in our lives, construction at the KC-46A site has continued,” said project engineer Brandi Bruens, who also praised the dedicated on-site quality assurance staff for their work on the project. The two-bay multipurpose maintenance hangar is approximately 95% complete. Construction of the hangar is on track to be completed in mid-January 2021. “The Central Oklahoma Area Office already has a heavy workload at 40-plus projects valued at $600 million across four installations,” said

Tulsa District area engineer Daniel de Robles. “Add to that one-of-a-kind complex facilities for a brand-new aircraft, all under high-level visibility due to the critical nature of the mission, and if that wasn’t challenging enough, do it all in the middle of a global pandemic. Most people would fold under that kind of pressure. Instead, our team has risen to the occasion. “Extended days and weekend work in record heat, three straight days of 1 a.m. airfield concrete placements – whatever it takes, the team is all in,” said de Robles. “Our quality assurance reps and technical support have taken on an even bigger role as the eyes and ears on-site for the rest of the team that has had to work from home.” Construction of the campus is expected to continue through 2029. At completion, the 158-acre campus will provide eight hangars, ramp infrastructure, software innovation labs, and engine test facilities. The Pegasus eventually will replace the KC-135, another refueling tanker that has a maintenance mission at Tinker AFB. The KC-46, which is constructed on a Boeing 767 airframe, is taller, longer, and has a larger wingspan than that of the KC-135, necessitating the need for new hangars and facilities for depot maintenance. n 73

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