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.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by 1st Lt. Jake Bailey

Cope South experts exchange knowledge, techniques

Air Force photograph by 1st Lt. Jake Bailey TSgt. Sam Bishop, center left, and SSgt. Jeffrey Stephens discuss propeller maintenance with Bangladesh air force maintainers, from the 101st Special Flying Unit, during exercise Cope...
 
 

Air Force names 2-star to lead F-35 Integration Office

With the initial operating capability date of the F-35 Lightning II quickly approaching, the Air Force appointed Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian as the director of a larger Air Force F-35 Integration Office, Feb. 1. In addition to gaining new leadership, the F-35 Integration Office will also grow from a staff of four to 12 and...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

Air Force risks becoming too small to succeed under sequestration

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee Jan. 28, 2015, in Washington, D.C., as Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Joesph F. Dunf...
 

 
Navy photograph by Ens. Jessica Kellogg

USS Elrod is decommissioned

Navy photograph by Ens. Jessica Kellogg The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Elrod (FFG 55) returns to her homeport at Naval Station Norfolk after a six-month deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. This w...
 
 

AF Identifies Boeing 747-8 platform for next Air Force One

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, in coordination with the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall, has determined the Boeing 747-8 will serve as the next presidential aircraft, commonly known as Air Force One. “The presidential aircraft is one of the most visible symbols of the United States of...
 
 
Navy photograph

USS Roosevelt marks 200,000 trap

Navy photograph An F/A-18F Super Hornet flown by Capt. Daniel Grieco, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), and Capt. Benjamin Hewlett, deputy commander of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, complet...
 




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>