Strapped for cash to buy Boeing’s new KC-46 tanker in sufficient numbers to fully replace the legacy fleet, the U.S. Air Force is looking instead to outfit its 60-year-old KC-135 Stratotanker with state-of-the-art survivability upgrades so it can fly for another 40 years.
The service is buying 179 next-generation KC-46s as the first step in an ambitious effort to recapitalize its tanker fleet. But even after Boeing’s Pegasus is fully fielded in fiscal 2028, the remaining 300 KC-135s will be the backbone of the force until the future KC-Y or KC-Z comes online in the 2030-40 timeframe.
In fact, the joint force will rely so heavily on the Stratotanker in the coming decades that the aircraft could be 100 years old before it is sent to the boneyard, according to Gen. Carlton Everhart, chief of Air Mobility Command (AMC).
It goes on to point out a big issue is the way the Congress is running the country on continuing resolutions and how it makes it impossible to move money from procurement to operations/maintenance and vice versa.
It sickens me the way the DoD speaks out of both sides of its mouth.
At least it was able to make Boeing bleed on the KC-46 contract, but I'm sure Boeing will find a way to make up their losses and then some.