McConnell hosts first KC-46 Weapons Systems Council

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  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kansas - The 22nd Air Refueling Wing hosted the first-ever KC-46 Weapons Systems Council Nov. 17-18, 2021.

Chaired by the 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander, Col. Nate Vogel, the council provided an opportunity to take an in-depth look at the strategic perspective and opportunities ahead with the Air Force’s newest multi-role tanker aircraft.

“Establishing a Weapons Systems Council for the KC-46 is an important step to fully operationalize the platform,” said Colonel Vogel. “As the KC-46 community grows, it will become increasingly important to bring the members of this community together to share our best practices, tap into the lessons learned, and ensure a shared understanding of current and future challenges. These important steps synchronize our efforts, which generate further momentum towards realizing the full potential of the KC-46.”

The event was the result of months of coordination and planning by the 344th Air Refueling Squadron, McConnell’s first flying squadron to operate the KC-46. This inaugural Weapons Systems Council drew in attendees from across the Total Force, starting with McConnell’s 22nd ARW and 931st ARW, as well as operators and counterparts from Air Mobility Command headquarters, Air Force Reserve Command headquarters, 4th Air Force, 60th Air Mobility Wing, 157th ARW, 97th AMW, 305th AMW, 916th ARW, 509th Weapons Squadron, and the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center.

Participants took part in two days’ worth of briefings, discussions and updates, hitting topics such as the continuing Initial Operational Test and Evaluation, integration with different mission sets, further operationalizing the KC-46, current and future training, and integrating the KC-46 into more large-scale exercises.

Activities for the KC-46 community weren’t limited to ground level in this inaugural KC-46 Weapons Systems Council. Aircrews from McConnell, Altus AFB, Oklahoma, and Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H., combined their efforts to plan and execute a three-ship local KC-46 sortie Nov. 18 using combined crews from the participating units. The mission include air refueling of F-16s from the Oklahoma Air National Guard’s 138th Fighter Wing, based out of Tulsa ANGB, Oklahoma, as well as other training activities.

According to Air Mobility Command, the KC-46 has flown more than 6,000 missions since the delivery of the Air Force’s first aircraft on Jan. 25, 2019, and has been busy ever since. KC-46s have offloaded more than 34 million pounds of fuel and made more than 26,000 boom and 1,500 drogue contacts since then – numbers that are going up each day with the continued efforts of aircrews from Team McConnell and across the growing KC-46 community.