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 July 7, 2015

News: F-35 loses dogfight to fighter jet from 1980s – A new report alleges that an F-35A was defeated by the very aircraft it is meant to replace.   Business: South Korea selects Airbus for $1.33 billion tanker contract – European aerospace giant Airbus won a $1.33 billion deal June 30 to supply air refueling...
 
 
U.S. Chamber of Commerce photograph

Boeing, Embraer to collaborate on ecoDemonstrator technology tests

U.S. Chamber of Commerce photograph Frederico Curado, president & CEO of Embraer, and Marc Allen, president of Boeing International, at the Brazil-U.S. Business Summit in Washington, D.C. The event occurred during an offici...
 
 
Untitled-2

Tactical reconnaissance vehicle project eyes hoverbike for defense

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, has been exploring the tactical reconnaissance vehicle, or TRV, concept for nearly nine months and is evaluating the hoverbike technology as a way to get Soldiers away from ground thre...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. William Banton

Upgraded AWACS platform tested at Northern Edge

Air Force photograph by SSgt. William Banton Maintenance crew members prepare an E-3G Sentry (AWACS) for takeoff during exercise Northern Edge June 25, 2015. Roughly 6,000 airmen, soldiers, sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen ...
 
 
LM-Legion

Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod™ takes to skies

Lockheed Martin photograph by Randy Crites Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod recently completed its first flight test, successfully tracking multiple airborne targets while flying on an F-16 in Fort Worth, Texas. Legion Pod was in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson

First Marine graduates Air Force’s F-35 intelligence course

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson Marine Corps 1st Lt. Samuel Winsted, an F-35B Lightning II intelligence officer, provides a mock intelligence briefing to two instructors during the F-35 Intelligence Formal Train...
 




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>