Downstate Air Force base snubbed as tanker site
MASCOUTAH, Ill. ó An Air Force base in southwestern Illinois won't be considered as a site for the military's next generation of aerial refueling tankers, and federal lawmakers from the state aren't happy about it.
The Air Force's potential locations don't include Scott Air Force Base near Mascoutah, east of St. Louis.
U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and Illinois Congressmen Bill Enyart and John Shimkus expressed disappointment over the snub involving the KC-46As that Chicago-based Boeing Co. plans to begin rolling out by 2016.
Scott-based aircraft include 14 aging KC-135 Stratotankers belonging to the 126th Air Refueling Wing. They moved to the air base from Chicago in 1999, bringing about 1,000 jobs.
The KC-46As are designed to fly far farther and carry heavier payloads than their aging predecessors.
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