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 July 7, 2015

News: F-35 loses dogfight to fighter jet from 1980s – A new report alleges that an F-35A was defeated by the very aircraft it is meant to replace.   Business: South Korea selects Airbus for $1.33 billion tanker contract – European aerospace giant Airbus won a $1.33 billion deal June 30 to supply air refueling...
 
 
U.S. Chamber of Commerce photograph

Boeing, Embraer to collaborate on ecoDemonstrator technology tests

U.S. Chamber of Commerce photograph Frederico Curado, president & CEO of Embraer, and Marc Allen, president of Boeing International, at the Brazil-U.S. Business Summit in Washington, D.C. The event occurred during an offici...
 
 
Untitled-2

Tactical reconnaissance vehicle project eyes hoverbike for defense

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, has been exploring the tactical reconnaissance vehicle, or TRV, concept for nearly nine months and is evaluating the hoverbike technology as a way to get Soldiers away from ground thre...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. William Banton

Upgraded AWACS platform tested at Northern Edge

Air Force photograph by SSgt. William Banton Maintenance crew members prepare an E-3G Sentry (AWACS) for takeoff during exercise Northern Edge June 25, 2015. Roughly 6,000 airmen, soldiers, sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen ...
 
 
LM-Legion

Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod™ takes to skies

Lockheed Martin photograph by Randy Crites Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod recently completed its first flight test, successfully tracking multiple airborne targets while flying on an F-16 in Fort Worth, Texas. Legion Pod was in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson

First Marine graduates Air Force’s F-35 intelligence course

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson Marine Corps 1st Lt. Samuel Winsted, an F-35B Lightning II intelligence officer, provides a mock intelligence briefing to two instructors during the F-35 Intelligence Formal Train...
 




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>