Sky Harbor Air National Guard Base
|Sky Harbor Air National Guard Base|
|Part of Arizona Air National Guard|
|Located near: Phoenix, Arizona|
161st Air Refueling Wing KC-135 flies over the Grand Canyon
|Controlled by||United States Air Force|
161st Air Refueling Wing
|IATA: PHX – ICAO: KPHX – FAA LID: PHX|
|Elevation AMSL||1,135 ft / 346 m|
- See: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for civil airport information
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is owned and operated by the City of Phoenix and is home to the Arizona Air National Guard's 161st Air Refueling Wing (161 ARW) at the co-located at the Sky Harbor Air National Guard Base.
Sky Harbor Air National Guard Base is located 24 miles ESE of Luke AFB and 2 miles north of the Salt River. As an Air National Guard unit within the U.S. Air Force, the 161 ARW is operationally-gained by the Air Mobility Command and has 8 KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned. Additional resources include the operations building, a security forces post, and a small USAF medical clinic. Nearby Luke AFB provides warning and metwatch support for the combined Papago Army Aviation Support Facility and 161 ARW areas.
The base is located on the southern end of the airport on a 50 acre parcel with a total of 16 buildings; 2 administrative, and 14 industrial, amounting to approximately 236,000 square feet. Day-to-day activities are managed by a force of 287 full-time personnel. One weekend per month this population swells to more than 879 members during military training assemblies. The base has no residential or transient housing facilities. The mission of the 161st Air Refueling Wing is to train, equip, and maintain units and individuals to meet worldwide requirements for federal day-to-day and mobilization missions and state emergencies.
In 1993, the City began land acquisition and design development to relocate the Arizona Air National Guard and numerous other projects necessary prior to constructing a third runway. In 1989, the FAA had completed a capacity study that recommended an additional runway at Sky Harbor. Runway construction began in 1997 and is now completed. Total costs for all projects incidental to and including the runway are estimated at $128 million.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to distribute the Alabama Air National Guard's 117th Air Refueling Wing's KC-135R aircraft from Birmingham International Airport Air Guard Station (AGS), AL and the 161st Air Refueling Wing, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport AGS (two aircraft) and two other bases. Phoenix Sky Harbor (37) scored higher than Birmingham (63) (see BRAC Recommendations for rank explanation) in military value for the tanker mission. This recommendation would take advantage of available capacity at Phoenix by increasing the air refueling squadron size from eight to ten aircraft, increasing the wing's overall capability. It would also capitalize on the favorable recruiting environment of the greater Phoenix region that could sustain this increased squadron size.
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