Defense

September 18, 2013

KC-46 progress hinges on requirements, funding stability

A1C Alexander W. Riedel
Washington, D.C.

An Air Force official Sept. 17 announced production and high-priority upgrade plans to refresh its fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers.

In a presentation at the at the Air Force Associations 2013 Air & Space Conference & Technology Exposition, Maj. Gen. John Thompson, the Air Force program executive officer for tankers, outlined continued progress in the cargo jets design and acquisition timeline.

The tanker crews – pilots, boom operators, maintainers – are conducting about 150 sorties, refueling about 450 aircraft a day – keeping the global in global reach, global vigilance and global power, Thompson said. The KC-135s are nearly 51 years old. They are fantastic weapons systems but our operators and maiAn Air Force official Sept. 17 announced production and high-priority upgrade plans to refresh its fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers.

In a presentation at the at the Air Force Associations 2013 Air & Space Conference & Technology Exposition, Maj. Gen. John Thompson, the Air Force program executive officer for tankers, outlined continued progress in the cargo jets design and acquisition timeline.

The tanker crews – pilots, boom operators, maintainers – are conducting about 150 sorties, refueling about 450 aircraft a day – keeping the global in global reach, global vigilance and global power, Thompson said. The KC-135s are nearly 51 years old. They are fantastic weapons systems but our operators and maintainers need something new and better.

In August, Air Force officials signed off on the KC-46 weapon systems critical design review, taking ownership of the design and moving forward in the acquisitions timeline.

The closure, Thompson said, represented the culmination of component and subsystem design examinations and allowed the program to progress into its manufacturing and test phases.

Beyond the test phase, officials aim to ensure technical performance is on track with the Air Forces first freighter flight scheduled in June.

The review processes benefited from commercial and Defense Department best practices, leading to overall improvements and projected cost-savings, Thompson said.

Boeing, meanwhile, is continuing integration, verification and production of four engineering and manufacturing development aircraft to support flight testing, scheduled to begin in mid-2014. The first operational KC-46 tanker is projected to fly in early 2015 – with an expected delivery of 179 tankers by 2028, Thompson said.

As the process moves from drawing to metal, Thompson said the program hit a number of milestones this year, including the award of a training contract and base selection for the tanker in May and beginning production on the first model in late June.

Assembly of the second model aircraft began in August, putting the program on track to have four test aircraft assembled by the middle of next year.

We are 40 percent done with the development program … and most of the requirements have been met early, Thompson said. Our way forward is to continue with good execution to fully fund the test program (and) develop the monitor and sustainment strategy.

Thompson said that while there is a considerable amount of uncertainty relative to sequestration in fiscal 2014, maintaining stability and support for the program is essential to keeping the pace of the process.

Requirements and funding stability are absolutely key, the general noted. As the No. 1 modernization program, Im sure (Air Force leaders) will do what they can to protect this very critical program as we go forward.
ntainers need something new and better.

In August, Air Force officials signed off on the KC-46 weapon systems critical design review, taking ownership of the design and moving forward in the acquisitions timeline.

The closure, Thompson said, represented the culmination of component and subsystem design examinations and allowed the program to progress into its manufacturing and test phases.

Beyond the test phase, officials aim to ensure technical performance is on track with the Air Forces first freighter flight scheduled in June.

The review processes benefited from commercial and Defense Department best practices, leading to overall improvements and projected cost-savings, Thompson said.

Boeing, meanwhile, is continuing integration, verification and production of four engineering and manufacturing development aircraft to support flight testing, scheduled to begin in mid-2014. The first operational KC-46 tanker is projected to fly in early 2015 – with an expected delivery of 179 tankers by 2028, Thompson said.

As the process moves from drawing to metal, Thompson said the program hit a number of milestones this year, including the award of a training contract and base selection for the tanker in May and beginning production on the first model in late June.

Assembly of the second model aircraft began in August, putting the program on track to have four test aircraft assembled by the middle of next year.

We are 40 percent done with the development program … and most of the requirements have been met early, Thompson said. Our way forward is to continue with good execution to fully fund the test program (and) develop the monitor and sustainment strategy.

Thompson said that while there is a considerable amount of uncertainty relative to sequestration in fiscal 2014, maintaining stability and support for the program is essential to keeping the pace of the process.

Requirements and funding stability are absolutely key, the general noted. As the No. 1 modernization program, Im sure (Air Force leaders) will do what they can to protect this very critical program as we go forward.




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


 
 

 

Headlines April 24, 2015

News: More than $1 billion in U.S. emergency reconstruction aid goes missing in Afghanistan - A total of $1.3 billion that the Pentagon shipped to its force commanders in Afghanistan between 2004 and 2014 for the most critical reconstruction projects can’t be accounted for by the Defense Department, 60 percent of all such spending under an...
 
 

News Briefs April 24, 2015

German defense minister: widely used rifle has no future A widely used assault rifle has “no future” with the German military in its current form, Germany’s defense minister said April 22, escalating a dispute over the weapon’s alleged shortcomings. Ursula von der Leyen said last month that a study showed the G36 rifle has a...
 
 
Army photograph

Composites key to tougher, lighter armaments

Army photograph XM-360 test firing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., in 2007, is shown. The Army is on the cusp of revolutionizing materials that go into armament construction, making for stronger, lighter and more durable weapo...
 

 

Northrop Grumman signs long-term agreement with Raytheon

Northrop Grumman has entered a long-term agreement with Raytheon to supply its LN-200 Inertial Measurement Unit for Raytheon optical targeting systems. The long-term agreement with Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business extends through 2018. The LN-200 provides camera stabilization on optical targeting systems that conduct long-range surveillance and target acquisition for various...
 
 

NTTR supports first F-35B integration into USMC’s weapons school exercise

The Nevada Test and Training Range was part of history April 21, when four U.S. Marine Corps-assigned F-35B Lightning IIs participated in its first Marine Corps’ Final Exercise of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course on the NTTR’s ranges. The Final Exercise, or FINEX, is the capstone event to the U.S. Marine Corps Marine Aviation...
 
 
AAR-Textron

AAR awarded new contract from Bell Helicopter Textron to support T64 engines

AAR announced April 22 that Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. awarded its Defense Systems & Logistics business unit a contract providing warehouse and logistics services in support of upgrading T64 engines for the Bell V-280 Val...
 




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>