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Air Force Can Retire KC-135, Transcom Commander Says (Read 149 times)
Roger Whitcomb
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Air Force Can Retire KC-135, Transcom Commander Says
May 20th, 2021 at 3:48pm
Air Force Can Retire KC-135, Transcom Commander Says

May 19, 2021

by C. Todd Lopez
DoD News

U.S. Transportation Command is responsible for moving people and material around the globe in support of the nation’s defence needs. It relies, in part, on the use of the Air Force’s aircraft to do that.

When the Air Force hoped to retire some aircraft within the KC-135 Stratotanker fleet in order to make way for the new refuelling aircraft, the KC-46 Pegasus – which was delayed – Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons, commander of Transcom, thought it inadvisable, but that is no longer the case.

“At that time, the...implications for day-to-day operations were significant,” Lyons told lawmakers yesterday before a hearing at the House Armed Services Committee. “Since that time, the United States Air Force has done some incredible work, first to make sure that Boeing is signed up to complete the work that they’re under contract to complete. Second, to work through some interim capability releases to allow us to use the KC-46 in operations.”

Lyons said that while the KC-46 refuelling aircraft is not compatible now with every aircraft that might need to be refuelled, it’s compatible “across a large portion” of them.

The Air Force has also delayed retirement of some KC-10 Extenders, Lyons said, and this puts Transcom in a good position, he added.

“I really appreciate the support of the Air Force,” Lyons said. “I’ve talked to the chief about this. I think we’re in a very good place. I do think it’s the right decision to allow the Air Force to retire the KC-135s that they requested to retire.”
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