The Air Force selected Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., as its preferred alternative for the first Reserve-led KC-46A Pegasus main operating base, officials said Thursday.

The service named Tinker AFB, Okla., Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., and Grissom ARB, Ind., as its reasonable alternatives. The next generation air refueling tankers are expected to begin arriving in 2019.

“Seymour Johnson was selected based on operational analysis, results of site surveys, cost and military judgment factors,” Jennifer Miller, deputy assistant secretary for installations, said in a press release.

“The primary drivers for selecting this location as the preferred alternative were its lower costs and its highly successful existing active-duty association, which will lead to the lowest active-duty manpower required to stand up the KC-46A Reserve unit,” Miller explained.

The selection of Seymour Johnson will minimize costs and the challenge of fielding a new weapons system while simultaneously establishing a new active association, according to the release. The Air Force plans to establish active/Reserve associations at all U.S. main operating base locations.

The Air Force now will begin the environmental impact analysis process, which will require it to evaluate reasonable alternatives as well. “We look forward to the inputs provided from the communities as we proceed through the environmental impact analysis,” Miller said.

When the environmental impact analysis is complete, the Air Force will make its final basing decision.

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