Defense

February 6, 2013

Air Force increases projected KC-46 flying hours, crew ratio

The Air Force has increased planned life-cycle flying hours and aircrews assigned to the new KC-46A refueling tanker to make optimal use of the commercially-proven aircraft’s fuel efficiency, cargo and aeromedical evacuation capabilities.

Compared to the Eisenhower-era KC-135 Stratotanker, the KC-46 is projected to have improved fuel efficiency, a greater fuel capacity, and much more cargo, passenger and aero-medical capability, said Maj. Gen. John Thompson, the Tanker Program executive officer and KC-46 program director.

The new aircraft is a derivative of the Boeing 767 and commercial-derivatives are typically more dependable and less expensive to maintain than military-only aircraft.

Air Force leaders re-evaluated previous usage estimates, based on KC-135 averages, and decided these changes were appropriate to better utilize the full potential of the KC-46.

They decided an increase of 2.5 to 3.5 aircrews assigned per KC-46 was necessary to facilitate surge capabilities and to meet contingency operations requirements per the 2012 Defense Strategy. Overall, the increase will add approximately 60 total aircrews to the force and allow the Air Force to fly more missions using the KC-46.

Decisions also include the basing strategy of the KC-46 with an increased focus on “total force associations.” Basically, active-duty and reserve units will share aircraft allowing the KC-46 utilization rates to be much higher than current KC-135 rates.

Air Force leaders informed Congress of the increased flying hours due to the basing strategy and concept of operations changes along with the anticipated 11.2 percent future cost growth in the estimated operations and support costs due to increased usage.

The KC-46A is the service’s first step to replace its aging air refueling fleet. It will provide enhanced refueling capability and increased cargo and aero-medical evacuation capacity. The first 18 aircraft are slated to be delivered by August 2017.

The total operations and support costs are now predicted to be approximately $103 billion, but there is no increase in acquisition cost. Leaders stress the increase to operations and support is because this aircraft will be used more often and more effectively than current aircraft – not because it’s more expensive to operate.

“It’s completely a result of the basing and (concept of operations) changes and is in no way reflecting increased costs to operate the aircraft. We’re just flying it more,” Thompson said .

The Air Force is not planning to increase its budget, he said. “The increased KC-46 costs will be repurposed out of manpower and resources that were meant for the KC-135 (Stratotanker).”

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines October 22, 2014

News: Northrop challenges 3DELRR contract award - Northrop Grumman has formally issued a protest against the US Air Force’s decision to award its next-generation ground based radar to competitor Raytheon.   Business: Defense firms prefer GOP, but spread campaign cash between political parties - For every campaign contribution from a major arms manufacturer to a Republican candidate...
 
 

News Briefs October 22, 2014

Military converges on scene of Kansas jet crash Military personnel are investigating at the site in southeast Kansas where an Oklahoma Air National Guard fighter jet crashed after a midair collision with another one during a training exercise. The F-16 crashed Oct. 20 in a pasture about three miles northeast of Moline, an Elk County...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

Upgrades ‘new normal’ for armor in uncertain budget environment

Courtesy photograph The current Paladin is severely under-powered and overweight so its speed of cross-country mobility is pretty restricted. The Paladin Integrated Management program is designed to address a number of these we...
 

 

ISR: A critical capability for 21st century warfare

The progressive adaptations and breakthroughs made in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance arena have changed the way wars are fought, and the way commanders think about the battlespace. “Whether we have airmen exploiting full motion video data or serving downrange in the (Central Command) area of responsibility, these individuals make up an enterprise of 30,000...
 
 

Lockheed Martin teams with Roketsan of Turkey on new standoff missile for F-35

Roketsan and Lockheed Martin signed a teaming agreement Oct. 22 for collaboration on the SOM-J, a new generation air-to-surface Standoff Cruise Missile for the F-35 Lightning II. The SOM system is an autonomous, long-range, low-observable, all-weather, precision air-to-surface cruise missile. The SOM-J variant is tailored for internal carriage on the F-35 aircraft. The companies will...
 
 

Army Operating Concept expands definition of combined arms

The Army Operating Concept, published Oct. 7, expands the idea of joint combined-arms operations to include intergovernmental and special operations capabilities, said Gen. Herbert R. McMaster Jr. The new concept includes prevention and shaping operations at the strategic level across domains that include maritime, air, space and cyberspace, he said. It’s a “shift in emphasis,”...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>