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.


 
 

 
Army photograph by Charles Kennedy

New CT scanner finds diverse, important uses for researchers

Army photograph by Charles Kennedy Turning a now-standard tool for medical diagnostics and therapeutics to a host of new applications, the U. S. Army Research Laboratory’s Survivability/Lethality Analysis Directorate rece...
 
 
Army photograph by David Kamm

Chow from a 3-D printer? Natick researchers are working on it

Army photograph by David Kamm Natick food technologists already believe they serve up the best food science can offer. Now they are working to incorporate 3-D printing technology into foods for the war fighter. Army researchers...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Alexander Guerrero

Weapons School students get first look at upgraded B-1s

Air Force photograph by A1C Alexander Guerrero Maj. Brad Weber checks a screen that displays diagnostic information May 7, 2014, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. The IBS is a combination of three different upgrades, which includ...
 

 
arnold-a10

A-10 ‘Warthog’ tested in 16-T

Air Force photograph A model of an A-10 Thunderbolt II, more commonly known as “The Warthog” due to its unique shape, recently underwent a pressure-sensitive paint (PSP) test in Arnold Engineering Development Complex’s 16...
 
 
Untitled-1

F-15E takes first flight with new radar system

Air Force photograph by Jamie Hunter/Air Force graphic by TSgt. Samuel Morse The first 389th Fighter Squadron F-15E Strike Eagle received a Radar Modernization Program upgrade at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho in June. The...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of Alan Walters

45th Space Wing launches ORBCOMM satellites

Photograph courtesy of Alan Walters The 45th Space Wing supported Space Exploration Technologies’ successfully launches a Falcon 9 rocket carrying six second-generation ORBCOMM communications satellites July 14, 2014, fro...
 




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>