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 October 22, 2014

News: Northrop challenges 3DELRR contract award - Northrop Grumman has formally issued a protest against the US Air Force’s decision to award its next-generation ground based radar to competitor Raytheon.   Business: Defense firms prefer GOP, but spread campaign cash between political parties - For every campaign contribution from a major arms manufacturer to a Republican candidate...
 
 

News Briefs October 22, 2014

Military converges on scene of Kansas jet crash Military personnel are investigating at the site in southeast Kansas where an Oklahoma Air National Guard fighter jet crashed after a midair collision with another one during a training exercise. The F-16 crashed Oct. 20 in a pasture about three miles northeast of Moline, an Elk County...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

Upgrades ‘new normal’ for armor in uncertain budget environment

Courtesy photograph The current Paladin is severely under-powered and overweight so its speed of cross-country mobility is pretty restricted. The Paladin Integrated Management program is designed to address a number of these we...
 

 

ISR: A critical capability for 21st century warfare

The progressive adaptations and breakthroughs made in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance arena have changed the way wars are fought, and the way commanders think about the battlespace. “Whether we have airmen exploiting full motion video data or serving downrange in the (Central Command) area of responsibility, these individuals make up an enterprise of 30,000...
 
 

Lockheed Martin teams with Roketsan of Turkey on new standoff missile for F-35

Roketsan and Lockheed Martin signed a teaming agreement Oct. 22 for collaboration on the SOM-J, a new generation air-to-surface Standoff Cruise Missile for the F-35 Lightning II. The SOM system is an autonomous, long-range, low-observable, all-weather, precision air-to-surface cruise missile. The SOM-J variant is tailored for internal carriage on the F-35 aircraft. The companies will...
 
 

Army Operating Concept expands definition of combined arms

The Army Operating Concept, published Oct. 7, expands the idea of joint combined-arms operations to include intergovernmental and special operations capabilities, said Gen. Herbert R. McMaster Jr. The new concept includes prevention and shaping operations at the strategic level across domains that include maritime, air, space and cyberspace, he said. It’s a “shift in emphasis,”...
 




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>