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.


 
 

 
Courtesy photograph

F-22 inaugural deployment to Europe

Courtesy photograph A pair of F-22 Raptors fly near the coastline of Panama City Beach, Fla. Four F-22 Raptors, one C-17 Globemaster III, and approximately 60 airmen arrived at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, to train with allie...
 
 
ILS photograph

Boeing-built satellite will create first global high-speed broadband network

ILS photograph The Inmarsat-5 F3 satellite launched Aug. 28 aboard a International Launch Services Proton Breeze M rocket from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. EL SEGUNDO, Calif.–When the third Boeing-built [NYSE: BA] Inmarsat-5 sat...
 
 

Civil Air Patrol joins total force ‘Airmen’

When conducting missions for the Air Force as the official Air Force auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol is now included in the Air Force’s definition of the total force. CAP has provided 74 years of support to emergency services, aerospace education and cadet programs. In August 2015, the Air Force updated Doctrine Volume 2, “Leadership,”...
 

 

Hurricane Hunters to fly Tropical Storm Erika

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are operating out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., flying their state-of-the-art WC-130J Super Hercules into Tropical Storm Erika in support of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew four missions into the tropical storm from their deployed location at St. Croix in the...
 
 

Pentagon probing alleged distorting of war intelligence

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating an allegation that the military command overseeing the anti-Islamic State campaign distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress against the militant group, a defense official said Aug. 26. The official was not authorized to discuss the probe publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The investigation was...
 
 
LM-C130

U.S. Air Force receives additional MC-130J Commando II

MARIETTA, Ga., Aug. 27, 2015 – A crew from the U.S. Air Force Aug. 27 ferried a new MC-130J Commando II aircraft assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command to Cannon Air Force Base, N.., from the Lockheed Martin facilit...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>