Transcom’s head gives up on the U.S. Air Force starting to sell the KC-135

Washington — head United States Transportation Command Signaled on Tuesday, he is ready to help the Air Force plan to begin retiring some KC-135 tankers.

After the Air Force last year Requested authority to retire 13 KC-135s In 2021, General Stephen Lions, commander of TRANSCOM, argued that retiring legacy tankers without operating the KC-46 exacerbated the shortage of existing tankers at a high level of risk.

However, the outlook has changed better than last year, Lions told lawmakers in a hearing with the Preparatory Subcommittee of the House of Representatives Military Commission.

“I think we’re in a very good place. I think it’s a good idea to retire the KC-135, which the Air Force demanded to retire,” he said.

Lions were first delivered in 2019 and the Air Force has taken steps to agree with Boeing on a path to repair the KC-46, the latest tanker in service that has suffered from many technical flaws. Incredible work “was pointed out.

In 2020, Services and Boeing have finalized plans for the company to develop New remote vision system For aircraft, integration will begin in FY2011. Until then, Lions said the company would deploy some tentative modifications that would allow TRANSCOM to use the KC-46 for limited operations.

The service also coordinated the KC-10’s retirement schedule, leaving some planned retirements, he said. “By combining it, we were in a good position.”

Parliament in the 2009 Defense Authorization Bill Banned the Air Force From the abolition of any of the 398 KC-135s until FY2011. Instead, lawmakers stipulated that the service could retire 30 KC-10s during that period. This begins with six tankers in 2009.

However, a Lions statement could open the door to Congress to ease statutory restrictions on the sale of the KC-135. As a result, the Air Force will be able to retire part of the KC-135 fleet as part of its 2010 budget, which will be released on May 27.

In February, Mobile Corps Commander General Jacqueline van Ovost announced that the Air Force would begin offering KC-46 aircraft to TRANSCOM. For certain limited mission setsParticipate in exercises, escort fighters traveling long distances in the state or abroad, and more. TRANSCOM states that such operations could begin as early as June.

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