Defense

September 11, 2013

KC-46 tanker ‘on cost, on schedule,’ acting SecAF says

The Air Force’s KC-46 air refueling tanker project is “on cost and on schedule,” Acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning said here Sept. 9.

In an interview with American Forces Press Service, Fanning said the program “is in a real healthy place.” The Air Force will buy 179 of the aircraft to replace the venerable KC-135 Stratotanker refuelers, which generally are older than the crews flying them.

The Air Force announced selection of the Boeing tanker in February 2011.

Fanning visited Boeing’s KC-46 plant in Everett, Wash., recently. Two KC-46s now in production there will be ready for flight next year. The KC-46 is based on the Boeing 767 aircraft, which had its first flight in 1981. The company has 32 years of experience with the plane.

“It’s a commercial derivative concept, and we are doing more on the line than we would normally do which is why we are able to meet the timelines,” the acting secretary said. “Everything is coming together really well.”

The biggest reason this program is such a success is because the requirements were clearly defined and they were locked down, he said. The service has resisted adjusting the requirements during the course of development.

Still, there has to be flexibility to adjust for the learning process and that is also a part of the contract, Fanning said.

The acting secretary stressed that the new tanker is important for the Air Force.

“When we went into sequestration, it was priority No. 1 to protect this,” he said. “We didn’t want to reopen it, because it’s got very favorable terms for the Air Force.”

The tanker will replace one-third of the refuelers in the Air Force. Follow-on contracts for what the service today calls KC-Y and KC-Z tankers will follow, he said.

Fanning noted that while the KC-46 is an Air Force project and capability, all service members will benefit from it.

“The Air Force moves everyone and everything,” he said. “All the other services depend on the Air Force to get their people and stuff around the globe.”

The KC-46 will make refueling aircraft of all services and allies easier, Fanning said. “It is truly one of the most important backbone platforms for the joint fight,” he added. “No other country can do this.”

Fanning said the Air Force mobility story is “fascinating,” adding that in visits to bases, he notices that the service’s efficiency and reach rival those of successful companies such as UPS or FedEx.

Airmen are proud of that, Fanning said, and are excited that there is progress on getting the new refuelers. “They take (the KC-46) as a commitment by the Air Force to their community,” he said.

 




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


 
 

 

Headlines October 29, 2014

News: Unmanned rocket explodes just six seconds after taking off - A NASA rocket due to be visible across the East Coast on its way to the International Space Station has blown up on the Launchpad. IG: Former chief of wounded warrior office broke law, DOD regs - The Defense Department inspector general has recommended “corrective action”...
 
 

News Briefs October 29, 2014

F-35C makes first landing at Virginia Beach Navy base The Navy says an operational F-35C joint strike fighter has landed at Naval Air Station Oceana for the first time. Naval Air Station Oceana is the Navy’s master jet base on the East Coast. The Navy says the plane came to the Virginia Beach base Oct....
 
 

Time to turn to American technology for space launch

For the first time since the Cold War, the United States has deployed armored reinforcements to Europe. To counter Russia’s aggression, several hundred troops and 20 tanks are now in the Baltic. Yet the U.S. military is still injecting millions into the Russian military industrial complex. In late August, the United Launch Alliance – the...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Joe Davila

Boeing, Air Force demonstrate Minuteman III readiness in flight test

Air Force photograph by Joe Davila Boeing supported the launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on Sept. 23, 2014. Boeing supported the U.S. Air Force’s succ...
 
 

Pentagon going to court for refusing to release Sikorsky data

PETALUMA, Calif. – The Pentagon is refusing to release any data on any prime contractors participating in the 25-year-old Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program. The American Small Business League launched a program in 2010 to expose the fraud and abuse against small businesses the CSPTP had allowed. As a test the ASBL requested the most...
 
 
Northrop Grumman photograph

Raytheon Griffin C flight tests demonstrate in-flight retargeting capability

Northrop Grumman photograph Northrop Grumman has received a contract from the U.S. Marine Corps for low-rate initial production of the AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR). G/ATOR is the first ground-based multi-mi...
 




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>