Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand, Higgins & Collins Urge Air Force To Make Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station Host For New Refuel Tankers

Feb 24, 2015

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Representatives Brian Higgins and Chris Collins urged the Air Force to choose Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) as a host station for the third main operating base (MOB 3) for the new KC-46A Pegasus tankers. The new tankers are used to refuel aircrafts and are vital to Air Force operations.

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Reps. Higgins and Collins have long supported Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. In their letter to Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh and Chief of the Air Force Reserve Lieutenant General James Jackson, the Senators backed NFARS’s candidacy and argued that it is already equipped with many of the components needed to hold the refuel tankers and is therefore a cost effective choice.  

“The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station plays a critical role in our national security and in the regional economy. Its strategic location and first-class personnel  make it the perfect host station for these new refuel tankers, and will allow it to maintain a vital role in Air Force operations while creating good-paying jobs in Western New York,” said Senator Schumer. “I proudly join my colleagues to urge the Air Force to select NFARS as the host site for this critical operation, and I will be pushing the Defense Secretary to make this a reality.”

“The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is more than capable of hosting the new refueling tankers that are vital to our national defense,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “The station has already held a refuel tanker mission and is equipped with most of the infrastructure needed to house these tankers and is a smart, cost effective choice for the Air Force. I urge the Air Force to strongly consider Western New York as the host site for this critical equipment. Basing these tankers at Niagara would create jobs and strengthen the installation’s contribution to U.S. national security.”

“This is a good fit for the Niagara Falls Air Reserve station and would continue our efforts to expand the mission and protect the future of the base over the long-term,” said Congressman Higgins

“Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station possesses the infrastructure and community commitment needed to host the new refueling tankers in an efficient and cost effective manner,” said Congressman Collins. “Choosing this Western New York location will be mutually beneficial: it will provide the military with a versatile base, while strengthening the station’s strategic capabilities.”

The Niagara Falls Air Force Reserve Station is one of 18 stations in competition to be one of three KC-46A operating bases and the only reserve station in the country with these tankers. Five installations will be chosen in April to proceed to the next round of the competition. The NFARS is the sole military installation in Western New York and once supported the KC-135R aircraft missions. Schumer, Gillibrand, Higgins and Collins stated that one of the main factors in hosting the fuel tankers in Western New York would be the potential for low-cost military construction to alter NFARS’s existing tanker infrastructure instead of completely rebuilding at another station.

The letter to the Air Force and Air Force Reserve is attached.