Senator Collins Highlights Maine’s 101st Air Refueling Wing at Hearing with Top Pentagon Officials


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Washington, D.C. – At a hearing to review the Fiscal Year 2025 budget request for military construction, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee, highlighted the important role the Maine Air National Guard’s (MEANG) 101st Air Refueling Wing plays in our national defense.


The existing fuel cell hangar in Bangor was designed and built to accommodate the Wing's existing KC-135s.  The proposed project would construct a universal fuel cell hangar that can accommodate the Wing’s existing aircraft as well as future generation tankers, ensuring the Wing can execute its mission well into the future.


During Q&A with Lieutenant General Tom Miller, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering, and Force Protection at the U.S. Air Force, Senator Collins said:


General Miller, your unfunded priority list includes a fuel cell hangar at the Bangor Air National Guard Base, which is home of what we call the MAINEiacs – the Maine Air National Guard's 101st Air Refueling Wing.


I don't think I need to tell you how critical that Wing has been in doing the refueling of so much of our military aircraft.   At one point, it was doing more refuelings than any active duty base on the east coast.


So, could you explain why this project, for the fuel cell hangar, is important and how it can support legacy airframes, like the KC-135, while also preparing for future refueling tankers?


Lieutenant General Miller:


Air refueling is the difference in the reach the United States Air Force, and Navy, and Marine Corps has with its airpower.  And so, the tanker mission throughout the globe, and the mission there in particular is absolutely vital.


I'm an aircraft maintenance officer – it's what I've done my entire life.  So, the maintenance on weapon systems is critical.  And the fuel cell, in particular for a tanker mission, is open fuel cell, explosive proof lighting, air handling equipment, because the mission of the airplane is to refuel other airplanes.  That agile common hangar that's being planned can accommodate multiple KC-46, KC-135. 


We have evolved in our thinking on facilities, so that when we recapitalize to different airplanes, we don't have the dimensions restricted down to the legacy airplane.  So, thinking forward is going to help us there, and thank you for that question.




As the Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins secured nearly $9.6 million for MEANG projects in Bangor and Saco in the Fiscal Year 2024 Military Construction Appropriations bill.