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The primary mission of the 171st Air Refueling Wing is to provide in-flight refueling to Department of Defense and NATO aircraft. In doing so, we provide resources for global engagement, meet national objectives, and assist local and state authorities at the direction of the governor. The 171st also supports the Homeland Defense mission on a daily basis. Our secondary mission is cargo and passenger transportation. In performing this secondary mission, our tankers are continuously called upon to airlift cargo and passengers worldwide. It is not unusual for several of our aircraft to be deployed simultaneously to various locations around the globe performing real-world missions (refueling and airlift).

The wing is proud to support two Geographically Separated Units (GSUs), the 258th Air Traffic Control Squadron in Johnstown, PA and the 146th Weather Flight, a Special Operations Command unit.

economic impact

Drawing personnel from the Tri-State Area, the 171st ARW provides an economic stimulus of more than $56 million annually. This stimulus includes employment, purchases and construction expenditures from our unit directly into the local economy. The 171st ARW employs approximately 400 full-time employees and 1000 traditional guard members. 


Economic Impact Report


171st Tanker Facts

The average passenger car would operate for more than a year on the amount of fuel transferred through the air-refueling boom in one minute. 

- Enough material is contained in the tires of the landing gear (eight main gear wheels and two nose wheels) to produce 100 automobile tires. 

A gas station pump operating steadily for 24 hours wouldn't pump as much fuel as the tanker pours through its air refueling boom in eight minutes. 

The total fuel carried on a single flight of the tanker would be enough to last the average driver 46 years. 

Five thousand wires totaling 14 1/2 miles in length are needed in the electrical circuits of the tanker. 

The electrical power generated on a single four-engine tanker is sufficient to supply all the power needs for 35 average homes. 

There are almost 500,000 rivets in the tanker transport. These rivets range in cost from 14 cents to $1.50 installed. 

Under normal landing conditions, the tanker's brakes absorb enough energy to stop, simultaneously, 432 automobiles traveling at 50 mph. Under full braking conditions, the brakes would stop almost 975 automobiles.