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.


 
 

 
af-spacex

Air Force certifies SpaceX for national security space missions

Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force program executive officer for space, has announced the certification of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s Falco...
 
 
Army photograph

Army’s mid-tier radio advances battlefield network

Army photograph The mid-tier networking vehicular radio, or MNVR, is being tested extensively, including a limited user test, which was conducted this month at Network Integration Evaluation 15.2. This soldier is operating the ...
 
 
DARPA photograph

Human-robot teams compete June 5 at DARPA finals

DARPA photograph Team KAIST, from Daejeon, South Korea, and its robot DRC-HUBO negotiate mock rubble at a test site March 6, 2015. DARPA photo   In eight days, 25 human-robot teams will compete on the rubble-strewn field of a...
 

 
af-QF4

QF-4 aerial target program concludes

5/26/2015†-†One of the 82nd Aerial Target Squadronís QF-4s sits on the drone runway prior to takeoff May 12 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. This unmanned QF-4 was used as a full-scale target and shot down by a pilot from t...
 
 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Smart-mortar will help Soldiers more effectively hit targets

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez Nick Baldwin and Evan Young, researchers with the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, Pennsylvania, discuss the 120mm Guided Enhanced Fragmentation Mortar ...
 
 

Air Force assigns new chief scientist

The Air Force announced the service’s new chief scientist to serve as a science and technology adviser to the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force, May 21. Dr. Greg Zacharias will be the 35th chief scientist and is ready to “dive in” to his new role. “I...
 




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>