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.


 
 

 
Courtesy photograph

AEDC and AFRL collaborate to make advances in hypersonic technology

Air Force photograph by Mike Smith As part of the U.S.-German cooperative program known as Hypersonic International Flight Experimentation, an integrated aerodynamic and aerothermal test and analysis of a hypersonic cruise vehi...
 
 

Minuteman III rocket motor aging surveillance test completed at AEDC

Arnold Engineering Development Complex personnel completed testing of a Minuteman III Stage II motor in the Complex’s J-6 Large Rocket Test Facility for aging surveillance of the 48-year-old defense program. “The Stage II motor is part of the Minuteman III Aging and Surveillance test program to obtain motor performance data that is used to identify...
 
 
navair-triton

MQ-4C Tritons to arrive at Pax River this fall

  MQ-4C Triton test air vehicles at Northrop Grumman’s facility in Palmdale, Calif., will fly cross-country to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., this fall. The MQ-4C completed a test flight Aug. 19 with updated ...
 

 
global-hawk2

Air Combat Command loans Global Hawk to GVCTF

Air Force photograph by Jennifer Romo The 412th Test Wing’s Global Vigilance Combined Test Force received a Global Hawk Block 40 Aug. 6, on loan from Air Combat Command. Tail number 2035, from Grand Forks AFB, N.D., is jo...
 
 
C130b

C-130 Hercules still going strong at 60

Air Force photograph The C-130H Hercules dons the new eight-blade NP-2000 propellers. The 418th Flight Test Squadron replaced the C-130H Hercules’ four-bladed propellers with the eight-bladed propellers in 2008 in support...
 
 
Army photograph by Sgt. Brandon Hubbard

Romania air base replaces Transit Center Manas

Army photograph by Sgt. Brandon Hubbard Oregon Army National Guard, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team Soldiers from load onto a C-17 Globemaster III Aug. 13, 2013, bound for Afghanistan from Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romani...
 




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>