Larsen, Estes Call for Full Acquisition of 18 Aerial Refueling Tankers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 27, 2018,  Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Rep. Ron Estes (KS-04) led a letter to the House Armed Services Committee and the House Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee leadership requesting authorization and appropriations for the procurement of 18 KC-46A aerial refueling tankers in 2019.

 “The KC-46A tanker is being built by the best aerospace workers in the world, the women and men at Boeing’s Everett factory,” said Rep. Larsen. “I am proud to support them and the nation’s servicemembers who will rely on this critical aircraft to provide advanced air refueling capability.”

“One of my top priorities is making sure our military has the tools they need to succeed, including the best and safest aircraft for the Airmen at McConnell Air Force Base,” said Rep. Estes. “Securing this funding is a big win for McConnell, our community and our country. I am committed to continuing our efforts to fund additional KC-46 aircraft and rebuild our military.”

Larsen and Estes were joined by 48 bipartisan members on the letter.

Read the full text below:

April 27, 2018

The Honorable Mac Thornberry


House Armed Services Committee

2120 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515


The Honorable Adam Smith

Ranking Member

House Armed Services Committee

2120 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515


The Honorable Kay Granger


House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee

H-405, The Capitol

Washington, D.C. 20515


The Honorable Peter Visclosky

Ranking Member

House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee

1016 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515


Dear Chairs and Ranking Members:

After nearly 40 years, the United States Air Force is on the brink of receiving a new aerial refueling tanker – the KC-46A Pegasus.  This is a welcomed development for the Nation’s warfighters, and we ask for your support in the Fiscal Year 2019 defense bills.

As you know, the Air Force is replacing the current tanker fleet of Eisenhower-era KC-135s and Reagan-era KC-10s. These aircraft have been the cornerstone of the refueling mission, but the advanced age of the KC-135s has begun to undermine the fleet’s readiness and availability.  The Air Force requires the multi-functional capability that the KC-46A will offer. The new platform will provide aerial refueling to U.S. and coalition aircraft via a more modern refueling boom and hose and drogue systems. It will bring the latest tools to detect, avoid, defeat and survive threats, and it can deploy worldwide in any operational environment, designed to transport not just fuel but cargo, passengers, and patients while performing aeromedical evacuation missions.

As the Committees consider annual authorization and appropriations, we respectfully urge you to support the procurement of 18 tankers. The defense Committees have been a steward of taxpayer funding during this program’s development under a fixed price contract. The Committees can support the Air Force even further by maintaining steady procurement in this fiscal year.

Our nation’s tanker fleet is the cornerstone of any operation that requires aerial assets. However, the current, aging fleet is in dire need of both new and additional assets, and we ask for your continued strong support for KC-46A tankers in the Fiscal Year 2019 Defense Authorization and Appropriations bills. We look forward to working with you throughout the year on this issue of national security.

Thank you for your consideration of our request. 


Rick Larsen

Ron Estes

Nanette Diaz Barragán

Robert A. Brady

Anthony G. Brown

Salud O. Carbajal                                                        

Wm. Lacy Clay

Chris Collins

Paul Cook

Charlie Crist

Rosa L. DeLauro

Suzan DelBene

Eliot Engel

Adriano Espaillat

Elizabeth Esty

Marcia L. Fudge

John Garamendi

Denny Heck

Brian Higgins

Lynn Jenkins

Walter B. Jones

Marcy Kaptur

Peter T. King

Steve Knight

Ann McLane Kuster

John Larson

Frank LoBiondo

Dave Loebsack

Alan Lowenthal          

Frank D. Lucas

Roger W. Marshall

Thomas MacArthur

Brian J. Mast

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Grace Napolitano

Donald Norcross

Jimmy Panetta

John Ratcliffe

Dave Reichert

David Rouzer

Bobby L. Rush

Steve Russell  

Kurt Schrader

Pete Sessions  

Carol Shea-Porter

Christopher H. Smith

Thomas R. Suozzi

Mark Takano  

Glenn “GT” Thompson

Dina Titus


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