PERU, Ind. (WANE) Fort Wayne area residents can expect to see large military aircraft in the skies that they don’t ordinarily as a result of a runway improvement project at the Grissom Air Reserve Base in Peru, Indiana.

While the 12,500 foot runway at Grissom is being repaired, some of Grissom’s KC-135 refueling tankers will call Fort Wayne International Airport and the 122nd Fighter Wing home.

According to a Grissom news release KC-135s will operate primarily out of Fort Wayne during the early stages of the runway repair, and will transition to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio once their own runway repair project is complete.

“Runway repairs are typically done about every 10 years,” said Col. Thom Pemberton, 434th Air Refueling Wing commander. “This time is a little different, they are removing concrete down to the dirt in many areas – which is something that has not been done since it was built in 1942.”

Grissom planners have worked with both the airport staff, and the 122nd Fighter Wing based there to ensure a smooth transition of operations.

Some of the KC-135R Stratotankers began moving to Fort Wayne on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.

The 434th ARW at Grissom is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker wing in the Air Force Reserve Command. The unit has 16 aircraft assigned, but not all will be making the move to Fort Wayne and Wright Patterson.