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Gateway To Afghanistan

Dispatches from Manas

Spotlight on aging tanker fleet

Stars and Stripes today rolled out a Page One examination of America’s aging KC-135 fleet, questioning whether two wars have put too much strain on aircraft designed in the 1950s and facing replacement delays because of mishaps, scandal and politics.

It’s a good overall read, and includes interesting insights from a broad range of observers. The story focuses on the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall in England, though many of the sentiments expressed are similar to those I heard during the past few days at Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan, where about a dozen Fairchild tankers are deployed.

Just in case you missed the hyperlink above, here it is again:

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About this blog

Fairchild Air Force Base supplies 80 percent of the military aircraft and flight crews operating out of Manas Transit Center, a key hub along one of the primary NATO supply routes into Afghanistan. The small base, located outside the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek, is barely 400 miles from the Afghan border.


Colin Mulvany is a staff photographer for The Spokesman-Review.

David Wasson is a deputy city editor for The Spokesman-Review.

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