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.


 
 

 

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...
 

 
af-uav4

Arming the RPAs

Air Force photograph by TSgt. Joseph Swafford A1C Matthew Lopez (center), 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron munitions systems technician, builds a GPS-guided GBU-49 bomb at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2015...
 
 
dragon-lady1

Local efforts help keep Dragon Lady flying at 60

Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Bobby Cummings A U-2 Dragon Lady soars above the flightline at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., Jan. 22, 2014. The low-altitude handling characteristics of the aircraft and bicycle-type lan...
 
 
Air Force photograph

U.S. Navy awards production contract for additional P-8A aircraft, first RAAF planes

Air Force photograph A P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft parked on the tarmac during a BALTOPS 2015 mission on the flightline of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, June 9, 2015. The U.S. Navy awarded a nearl...
 




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>