What impact will KC-46A’s jets have on western Mass?

Air Force wants to hear what you think about the new cargo jets coming to Westover

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Air Force is trying to figure out which base would be the best “home base” for new KC-46A jets. Part of the process is hearing from residents. “If the KC-46A’s came, there would be renovations needed, there would be new buildings needed.”

Westover Air Reserve Base is one of four bases being considered to house 12 KC-46A refueling jets. They’re capable of refueling, but they’d have an impact on our environment.

“There’s also impacts to the natural resources, hazardous waste management, storm water; those sorts of things that’ll be involved with the construction work that’ll be necessary,” said Jack Moriarty, the Environmental Manager at Westover.

The Air Force invited Chicopee residents to the Castle of Knights Tuesday to hear their concerns, and educate them about this aircraft.

The KC-46A’s make noise, but they’re not as loud as the C5 jets currently at Westover. 22News spoke to many residents who said they’re willing to deal with the noise if it’ll be good for the economy overall.

“They’re losing half the C5 fleet, it would be economically, militarily, a good choice to put it here. To me it’s an excellent choice for the basing of that aircraft,” said Vincent Viglione of Belchertown.

Westover had a $221-million economic impact on the local economy in 2014. Lt. Col. James Bishop told 22News that the bigger the base, the bigger the economic impact; “Westover is the biggest reserve base in the nation by land mass, which means it got the room to grow. If it expanded, of course the economic impact would expand, as well.”

The Air Force is accepting comments online. You can submit comments on this proposal through this website www.KC-46A-beddown.com

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