Mullin Highlights Vance, Altus, and Tinker in Air Force Modernization

On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), questioned witnesses during a Subcommittee on Airland hearing to receive testimony on Air Force modernization in review of the FY25 President’s Budget and posture for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

In his remarks, Sen. Mullin spoke with Lieutenant General David A. Harris, USAF, Lieutenant General Richard G. Moore, Jr., USAF, and Andrew P. Hunter, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics about Air Force modernization efforts and their impact on Oklahoma’s military installations. Mullin questioned the witnesses about changes to training processes at Vance Air Force Base (AFB) and Altus AFB and the transition from the E-3 to E-7 aircraft at Tinker AFB.

Click here for a video of Mullin’s full remarks.

Highlighted quotes:

MULLIN: “Vance is one of the top pilot training centers in the country. Where are we at with changing those programs there and where does it leave the Air Force bases when you start talking about what is the future of Vance and what is the future of Altus in their current mission?”

“At Vance, I have a concern because you’re changing a lot of your flight time to simulators…When you start looking at the simulators and the way their training, I totally understand, but some of the simulators you all have set up at Vance is literally a warehouse. This warehouse was 100 degrees if not over. These future pilots are sitting in these simulators for hours. I don’t see the infrastructure meeting where you guys are moving towards… I don’t see the investment and I definitely don’t see it when you’re going to your budget…I didn’t see anything new for Vance to be able to meet the training that you guys are asking them to do except for using old infrastructure.”

“I’d love to invite you guys there. We take a lot of pride in Vance. It is something that the community is 1000% behind, it’s something that the state is behind, we love the fact that there’s more pilots trained there than anywhere in the country we want to keep that there…If we’re talking about retaining the best, sometimes conditions do matter.”

“We have a problem at Tinker with providing for our mission when we have an [project timeline] overrun of the E -7s when we’re phasing out the E-3s. I’ve brought this up multiple times and we get answers that are all over the place on how we are going to actually phase out the E-3s when we can’t deliver the E-7s on time and still be mission capable. We talk about utilizing space assets, which that is a possibility, but what are we actually going to do to make sure the mission that Tinker does, and we know Tinker provides a very vital role to us, especially in a time of conflict, if we go into a conventional fight they’re going to be our eyes and our ears, and yet, we’re not going to have the platform to provide the mission. What is our actual plan?”