Fourth hangar online at Tinker as KC-46 campus grows

  • Published
  • By Clayton Cummins, AFMC Public Affairs

Construction is complete on the fourth hangar of the KC-46A Pegasus campus at Tinker Air Force Base.

The hangar came online in September 2023, three years to the month after the first KC-46 arrived at Tinker for depot maintenance. It is the fourth of seven hangars that will make up Tinker’s newest mission acquisition.

The Air Force purchased the 158-acre Burlington Northern Santa Fe railyard from Oklahoma County to make way for KC-46 campus in February 2015. The land-purchase process began in March 2012.

The land purchase was made possible through a joint effort of the U.S. Air Force ($8 million), the City of Oklahoma City ($23.5 million) and Oklahoma County ($12.5 million).

“It is very exciting,” said Colton Shaub, aircraft mechanic supervisor at the 568th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “Because we are a growing organization, we have been stacked on top of each other a little bit. Getting to move into other hangars and have more space has been very nice.”

Space has been a challenge for crews as new hangars are built.

“A lot of the aircraft maintenance, until these hangars were online, were being done outside on the apron,” said Shaub. “When it is snowing, we still must go out and perform that maintenance outside. When it’s the summer and it’s excessively hot, we’re out there working too.”

This hangar is the first on campus that is constructed to support fuel maintenance on the aircraft. While generic aircraft maintenance is conducted inside the other three hangars, C check maintenance will be completed inside the most recent hangar to come online. The hangar also requires less maintenance regarding fuel before an aircraft enters.

“For the aircraft to go in some of the other bays, mechanics have to spend about a full shift, if not more, defueling and sumping the aircraft before moving it into a hanger,” said Shaub. “This hangar is set up where when an aircraft lands with a full fuel load, it can move directly into the hangar.”

The ability to move an aircraft directly into a hangar and not spend hours defueling will prove critical in the event severe or winter weather moves into the area.

Construction has already begun on the fifth hangar of the KC-46 campus. It will consist of three bays, making it the largest maintenance hangar on the campus.

Construction on Tinker’s KC-46 campus is expected to last into 2029. Once complete, the area will include hangars, ramp infrastructure, and a software innovation lab.

The KC-46 will eventually replace the KC-135, a refueling tanker with a maintenance mission at Tinker.

In the end, the Air Force will have invested over $837 million in military construction funding into the program.

The campus is also expected to employ 1,300 people under Oklahoma’s Quality Jobs Program. Administration positions within the program are currently being filled. Shaub says additional mechanics will be hired in Spring 2024 to assist with the 2025 workload.

Visit USAJobs or the AF Civilian Careers website to view the latest KC-46 job openings.

Based on the Boeing 767, the KC-46A is a wide-body, multi-role capable tanker, supporting missions such as aerial refueling, cargo and aeromedical evacuation, as well as passenger transport. Tinker AFB is the programmed depot maintenance hub for the KC-46A, providing all aspects of depot aircraft maintenance.