Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today announced Stewart Air National Guard Base received its second C-17 aircraft equipped with an extended range (ER) fuel tank in an expedited fashion, with more requested for fuel tank updates. The announcement comes after Senator Gillibrand wrote to Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley in May 2012 requesting an expedited upgrade to the 105th Airlift Wing’s fleet, enabling its full participation in defense and homeland security mission sets.
The first ER-equipped aircraft was delivered to Stewart Air National Guard Base in late September. The second was delivered Tuesday night. Senator Gillibrand is requesting the Air Force to continue this expedited schedule for as many as four additional extended range fuel tanks for the Wing.
“Receiving this upgrade to the C-17 fleet is critical to our defense and homeland security operations, as well as the strength of Stewart Air National Guard Base,” Senator Gillibrand said. “As one of the Hudson Valley’s largest employers, generating over $200 million in economic activity for the region, this is an important step that can help strengthen our equipment and missions here at Stewart.”
“We are pleased to take delivery of our first Extended Range Tank modified C-17 aircraft. These aircraft will immediately increase our capability and ability to provide vital airlift to Air Mobility Command, the Department of Defense and New York State,” said Colonel Timothy J. LaBarge, Commander of the 105th Airlift Wing. “We very much appreciate the advocacy, and support that Senator Gillibrand, Congresswoman Hayworth and the rest of our Congressional Delegation has provided as well as the support and confidence that AMC Commander Gen Johns and his staff have shown. These aircraft will be put directly to use doing important work for our nation.”
Senator Gillibrand is working hard to protect and enhance New York’s Air National Guard bases and military installations, and put them in a strong position to attract new aircraft and new missions. ER Fuel Tanks would allow Stewart Air National Guard Base to support the full range of C-17 missions, which include theater direct delivery, aeromedical evacuation and homeland security missions.
In 2010, Senator Gillibrand worked to ensure that Stewart Air National Guard Base was the preferred choice for C-17 missions. The move coincided with the base receiving millions in funding in the FY 2011 defense authorization bill. As a result in 2011, Stewart Air National Guard Base received five C-17s, with delivery of the last four aircraft scheduled for 2012.
Currently, Stewart Air National Guard Base is the only Airlift Wing in New York and only Air National Guard Base on the East Coast that is equipped with C-17s, and was set to receive nine C-17 air frames not equipped with ER capabilities. Stewart Air National Guard Base had already received seven non-ER airframes. In her letter to Secretary Donley, Senator Gillibrand requested that the new airframes being delivered to Stewart be equipped with ER fuel tanks.
Senator Gillibrand’s complete letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley from May 2012 is attached.