AMC Chief Wants KC-X To Augment C-5, C-17 Fleets




 
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November 8th, 2006  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: AMC Chief Wants KC-X To Augment C-5, C-17 Fleets


Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
November 8, 2006

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. - Air Mobility Command chief Gen. Duncan McNabb says he wants the future aerial refueler to "be more like a mini KC-10 than it will be like a -135" as teams with very different proposals continue to prepare their bids for the massive KC-X contract.
McNabb says he expects the KC-X to be capable of carrying significant amounts of cargo, providing some relief to a taxed fleet of C-17s, C-5s and C-130s that are focused largely on supporting operations in Iraq. The Air Force's draft request for proposals calls for at least six pallets and 50 passengers to be carried on KC-X in addition to handling its refueling mission. However, McNabb says that requirement is simply based on the capacity offered by the Boeing 707-based KC-135 now in service. He envisions a multirole tanker than can, if needed, offload capacity from the existing transport fleet when needed.
"We want the KC-X to do what the C-17 did," McNabb told a roundtable of reporters at his headquarters Nov. 6. "It changed the way we did airlift."
AMC officials have now based two squadrons, or 20 C-17s, in bases close to Iraq to continue throughput of cargo in and around the region. Prior to this summer, the C-17s were mostly used to augment the unreliable C-5 fleet on long-haul transcontinental missions.
The C-17s carry three times as much cargo - 18 pallets in one mission - as C-130s that have traditionally provided intratheater lift. The number of C-130s in use in and around Iraq has been reduced by about one-third to 41 because the mobilization authority for the Reserves has expired and a significant portion of the fleet is restricted or grounded due to structural wearing on their center-wing boxes.
Boeing is deciding whether to pitch tanker versions of the 767 or 777, while a Northrop Grumman/EADS North America team is planning to propose an A330-based refueler. A formal request for proposals is expected Dec. 15, with the contract award in mid-2007.
McNabb outlined his plans for a future cargo and air refueler fleet including: 190 C-17s, 111 C-5Ms (including avionics and power plant overhauls), 353 C-130s (278 of the newest H models with avionics upgrades and at least 75 C-130Js), 100 Joint Cargo Aircraft, 417 KC-135Rs, 59 KC-10s and at least 100 KC-X aircraft.
The Air Force's draft acquisition strategy calls for purchase of 179 KC-Xs.
 


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