U.S. Aerial Refueling Capacity Deemed Insufficient


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Mar 21, 2009
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U.S. Transportation Command's latest mobility requirements study has found that the U.S.'s current aerial refueling capacity is as much as 20 percent shy of what could be needed in major conflict, service officials told lawmakers April 28.

"In one case, we would need 103 percent of what we have now, and 120 percent in an air-and-naval campaign scenario," said Air Force Brig. Gen. Michelle Johnson, adding it would use a mix of 59 Air Force KC-10s, 450 KC-135s and 79 U.S. Marine Corps KC-130s.

Johnson, director of policy and strategy at Transportation Command, spoke during an April 28 House Armed Services air and land forces subcommittee hearing. She did not describe the other scenario.

One of the main contributors to this tanker shortage is that 19 percent of the nation's 50-year-old KC-135s are in depot maintenance at any given time due to their age. That's something that a new tanker would address.

"A new aircraft would immediately provide more availability and better mission capable rates," compared with the geriatric KC-135s, Johnson said.

The study looked at how U.S. forces could be moved around the globe during three taxing military scenarios. One scenario called on the U.S. to conduct two major land wars while also dealing with three domestic disasters. Another consisted of an air-and-sea campaign coinciding with an asymmetric threat, while the third involved a major ground war "against the backdrop of an ongoing irregular warfare campaign," according to Johnson's testimony.

All of this comes a week after EADS announced that it would officially compete against Boeing in the U.S. Air Force's $35 billion KC-X tanker competition, which seeks to replace some of the oldest KC-135s. EADS is offering a modified version of the Airbus A330 while Boeing is pitching an upgraded 767 tanker variant.


the current Air Refuelling fleet of USAF is

59 KC-10s
450 KC-135s
79 KC-130s

what do they need more........!!!!!!!!!!!!1

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