Air Force May Scrap KC-10 Tanker Fleet: General

Air Force May Scrap KC-10 Tanker Fleet: General

The U.S. Air Force is considering scrapping its fleet of KC-10 refueling tankers in response to automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, a general said.

The option is being considered as part of planning for the service’s budget for fiscal 2015, according to Gen. Paul Selva, commander of Air Mobility Command, based at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

The service requires 479 tanker aircraft, Selva said. The current refueling fleet is mostly made of up KC-135s, dating from the 1950s, with several dozen KC-10s, dating from the 1980s. The Air Force’s top acquisition priority is to build a new KC-46A tanker to replace about a third of the KC-135s. All three of the aircraft are made by Chicago-based Boeing Co.


Having a variety of tankers is costly and “prevents you from buying the new fleet,” Selva said during a briefing with reporters Tuesday at the Air Force Association’s Air & Space Conference and Technology Exhibition at National Harbor, Md.

“If you do horizontal cuts, you achieve small efficiencies across a very large force,” he added. “If you do vertical cuts, where you essentially divest of an entire weapon system … then you achieve greater savings over a shorter timeline.”

The Air Force may also get rid of excess C-130 cargo planes made by Lockheed Martin Corp., Selva said. The service currently has about 340 of the aircraft, but only needs less than 300, he said.

Selva’s comments came a day after Acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning seemed to indirectly confirm a Defense News article that the service is weighing shedding its fleets of A-10 attack planes, KC-10 refueling tankers and F-15C fighter jets, as well as canceling a new search-and-rescue helicopter program, due to the budget cuts.

“Everything is on the table,” Fanning said. “We are looking most closely at single-mission fleets.”

The Defense Department faces $500 billion in automatic cuts over the next decade. That’s in addition to almost $500 billion in defense reductions already included in 2011 deficit-reduction legislation. The first installment of the automatic cuts began March 1 after lawmakers were unable to reach an alternative agreement on taxes and spending. The next round takes effect in fiscal year 2014, which begins Oct. 1, and is estimated at $52 billion.

Fanning said he recently advised congressional staffers that combining the indiscriminate reductions with a series of stop-gap measures to fund the government, known as continuing resolutions, or CRs, would be the “worst-case scenario” for the military. Yet with political parties in Congress deadlocked on a budget deal, that’s precisely what may happen.

Meanwhile, the new KC-46A refueling tanker may dodge the budget ax altogether, according to Maj. Gen. John Thompson, who manages tanker programs from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

The Air Force plans to spend $52 billion buying 179 of the so-called KC-46A aircraft, a derivative of the 767 twin-engine jet airliner, to replace a third of its fleet of Cold War-era KC-135 Stratotankers, also made by the Chicago-based company.

“There’s considerable amount of uncertainty relative to sequestration,” Thompson told a separate audience Tuesday at the conference. “As the No. 1 modernization program, though, I’m sure that the secretary and the chief and the rest of the Air Force leadership will do what they can to protect this very critical program.”

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USAF management has problems that are real when even the average person on the street questions their sanity.

“Everything is on the table,” Fanning said. “We are looking most closely at single-mission fleets.” — Then dumping the F-35 is an easy decision. It has the single mission of destroying American air power. It is too faulty and too weak to take on emerging threats and too expensive to own and operate against existing threats already handled by today’s technology.

This is another sad ploy to get the attention of Congress. Why would USAF give up the most capable tankers in the inventory?

“Everything is on the table”? Prove it. DOD must address the costs of personnel. 50%+ of the budget. That’s the elephant in the room.

Why not just scrap the ENTIRE DoD / Pentagon budget…???…
Why not…???…What modern country needs a military at all…???…

Divesting of an entire aircraft type model series would probably reduce military and civilian personnel more than just small horizontal cuts across every aircraft type, but you’re probably right about the Secretary engaging in some scare tactics here. Also, as alluded to by ELP, it is curious that only existing aircraft seem to be “on the table”. No mention of the new, in-production aircraft types sustaining a vertical cut. Now that would yield huge savings.

Only those that support terrorists, oppress their own people, intimidate their neighbors and put the world at risk, etc. Other than that I can’t think of any. You are probably correct, we don’t need a military.

Surprised they didn’t go after the KC-135. Unless you think KC-46A is going to get killed, in which case you stick with the most numerous jet in the fleet.

You can always put aircraft in Davis Monathan. It’s not the end of the world. Pick squadrons of the oldest KC-135s and kick the can down the road.

Just curious…has ANY plane ever been taken OUT of Davis-Monthan, besides the stray “gate guard”…???…

Parts are taken all the time. No idea about whole planes.

Although saddened by the questionable logic of retiring the better KC-10s instead of some KC-135s, the other decisions are interesting as well. Surely the remaining A-10 wings are more useful than the omnipresent F-16s that aren’t being touched. Both have there place, but we have no shortage of F-16s, and a big shortage of A-10s if/when we need heavy CAS. Similarly, replace the losses of F-15s for trimming the F-22 fleet, and you’ll be trimming half the number for the same savings. And there will still be plenty of –22s for the highest of high priority missions.

People who say we don’t need a military are ludicrous. Of course we need a military. For those who are illadvised are you going to stand and fight when another country invades our borders if we dissolved our military. Chinese and Russian are two of the countries that would invade our soil if we didn’t have a military.

Yes, whole aircraft have been return to the active inventory, from the boneyard.

Unless you ever worked on any of the planes mentioned you have no right to chime in on whether or not senior officers have been able to manage the problems associated with them. As an old Viet Nam Air Force Veteran that was there I speak from first hand expierence. Do you?

Sadly Bradford we do. Without a milatary countries like North Korea and Sryia would be in our front yard in a heart beat without one. You need to read a little world history about Germany (Hitler), Italy (Musalini), Iraq (Hussan) just to name a few. I know my spelling is off. All these men believed they could take over the world.

F-16s for a training program and F-4s as drones.

You mean the same Nazi Germany that was heavily funded by U.S. industries all during the 1930’s…???…
Henry Ford was a close personal friend of Hitler, who got the idea for assembly line genocide from Fords’ auto factory designs…just sayin’…
And, this would be the same Hussein in Iraq that the U.S. fully funded and supported when they were fighting Iran, right…???…
And, surely you’ve read “Day of Deceit: FDR & Pearl Harbor”, right…???… About how the U.S. basically forced Japan to attack us, so we would be justified in entering WW2, over 2 years after it started…???…
Please don’t tell me you think WW2 started dec. 7, 1941…
And, surely you remember the catastrophic explosive loss of the U.S.S.Maine in Havana Harbor, which newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst conflated into a sham excuse for the U.S. to start the so-called “Spanish-American War”…???…
So, Mark, kiddo, please don’t even TRY to lecture ME about “needing to read a little world history”…

P-3Cs were removed, reworked and sold off to Taiwan

Some B-1Bs were taken out of active service in the 2000’s and returned a few years later…don’t know if they went to Davis Monathan or were just hangared at home.

I wonder whose fault it was that the KC-10 didn’t replace all the KC-135’s in inventory.

“Well, we have this new KC– that will be even better than the –10! Stop the production lines!”

We can always do what Switzerland has done for hundreds of years that is, arm and train its citizens and mobilize them only if the need arises. Somehow I don’t think that would fly for a host of reasons, in particular our citizens showing the propensity to bump one another off using firearms.

Bring back the draft for compulsory Federal and/or state service—-pay them squat, three hots and a cot, give them a Education chit (GI bill) after competion of service…retain those that desire to make a career—selectively.
Get rid of DHS and border patrol (use US military for that like EVERY country in the world does)…have a robust ready reserve trained.…Make young folks the task of serving…ably and honorably and then reward them…NO exclusions for education or silver spoons…without extreme hardship.…

Scrap the rotten JSF this crappy slow fighter is not worth cutting US air power for five years to save its beacon. I doubt the F-15 will be cut away since so few F-22s ever made it into service. We need F-15C upgrades and and in many ways wars in Afghanistan show the need for A-10s ALOT more than a crappy slow JSF. This plan is all Generals corruption showing willing to KILL US airpower to save there pet projects. Save money fire the Pentagon staff!!!!!

They do have a military. It acts as a speed bump to delay enemy invasion until the country’s militia can fully mobilize. From there, it’s designed to hold the major roads and tunnels as part of Switzerland’s defense plan.

And yes, people in this country would probably turn their militia weapons on each other. I shudder at the thought. Even our historical militia kept their weapons in central storage; people on the frontier weren’t in militia companies but went about armed.

We conclude that since assault rifles are single-mission (to kill people), they will be replaced with Carl Gustavs, which can be “joint, multimission” weapons.

Silly military.

They didn’t learn their lesson the first time they tried to dump the A-10, did they? It’s vertical alright. And single mission as hell. The very reason it’s a game-changer for boots on the ground.

army would probably take a10 last time af wanted to dump them army said we’ll take them af suddenly decided they really needed them be Taliban wished they had been scraped

This is a result of a President who can not balance a budget, nor supports the military. An in affective Commander in Chief that cuts the military, leaving it standing on one leg with it’s hands tied behinds it back. At the same time as he cripples the military, he stands it up on alert to save his face with possible attacks on Embassies in North Africa. The man doesn’t want to get caught with his pants down again. Obama has crippled successfully crippled the military, and America.

Rumor is we are going to move to a green AF with wind driven aircraft, solar powered for day flight ability and Japanese fighting kites for air defense. The WH Czar for Green Defense has not yet selected a crony capitalist to invest in..

We can put the $58 a gallon green fuel in these aircraft.

The military, and in particular the Air Force, currently have the largest collection of gutless, politically correct, and incompetent General Officers in the history of our military. Their refusal to grow a pair and confront the assinine cuts to our military will someday cost Americans their lives. And when that happens we’ll see these same gutless wonders providing commentary on the cable news shows!

hooah to that.…. there’s nothin’ more reassurin’ to a ground-pounder than that disticint familar whine of their engines… & then the brrrraaappppp.….. woboy!!! how are we goin’ support ground opns w/o ‘em??

1st the A-10’s, then the Bones, now the tankers.…. when will this madness end.…. hopefully the mid-term elections, 2 turn these foolish decisions around!!!

Ten years from now, with 50 of the new KC-46 in service, it’ll be the same.

“Another new tanker design! Who needs the –46 anymore?”

Our F-15s and F-16s aren’t getting any younger and they stopped F-22 production and development. Cancel the F-35 and maybe you buy some time before government idiocy brings the A-10, B-1, and KC-10 back to the chopping block, except this time we don’t even get any new fighters.

Did anybody ask the ‘customer’ the AF supports how many transports *they* need? Bet it’s a much higher number.

the KC-10 IA is such a multiporpse aircrfrt instead of having to build and/or test a troop or heavy airlift aircrft would increase savings

DAMN!…that Obama sure is one POWERFUL dude…or, is the U.S. Military really so LAME, that one President can “cripple” it…???… And NONE of the Republicrats could do anything to stop the military from being “crippled”…???… Like I said, “DAMN!”…Obama sure is ONE powerful DUDE…

…somehow, I don’t think that rumor you just started is going to travel very far, “NeoConVet”…
…why should we use *JAPANESE* fighting kites for air defense…???…
…what’s wrong with the CONUS-sourced fighting kites…???…

Buy American! Toshiba Fighting Kites to be made in Nevada.

Sell the surplus aircraft to Israel…maybe they will give them back some day? Harhar.

Or if we are indeed going to stop being NATO-nannies we can sell the tankers to them. Go support your own Libya ops next time. Take these aircraft and go.

More likely than not the boneyard is the final destination. Davis Monathan is going to be /full/ of aircraft soon…go sequester.

The ones that are super powers. DUH

No, Thats your congress that can’t put a budget in front of the president that is worth signing. All politicans are rich and corrupt

If you research, you will find that the KC-10 was built by Mac Onald –Douglas. Boeing never built a KC-10

McD got acquired by Boeing…though nobody calls the F-14 the “Northrop Grumman F-14″.

Wake Up!, If We cannot Defend Ourselves, you may takeup , Chinese, Russian and Arabic Launguages.

USMC brought back and refurbished some CH-53Es recently, although as an in service type, that is different than returning the plane to service.

ugh.. scrap Services and give us all gym memberships. And stop championing volunteerism. It defeats the purpose of volunteering if you attach promotions to it. If you’re terrible at your job but still volunteer you can still get NCO of the year!!! The AF has completely lost sight of its mission… and everybody knows its.

A heads up to get rid of triservice. Interservice rivalry results in unwinnable wars.

The best things to be replaced are the 189 or so registered members of the communist / socialist party in American that are elected members of congress! Then run the members of congress out of office that have not done their jobs and/ or refused to do the Constitutionally Right things. I do realize that there probably is a lot of misspent money and people that need to leave the military and let others replace them that will work and do their jobs. If congress had done their job none of these monetary cuts would be needed.

Figure out who’s been getting richer /in/ DC. Get rid of the ones gaining wealth the fastest. Top 100, top 200, top 300?

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Would it be so bad to ban lobbying activity in the district of Columbia? Restricting it to grass-roots movements, or even to unpaid, uncompensated private individuals would do wonders, vs allowing mercenaries for every interest group under the sun.

Go after the KC-135. That’ll demonstrate how “on the table you are”. It’ll also give you a seat at the “omg we need new tankers” table..,

YO!, “Harvey1”, I’m not calling out “liar, liar, pants on fire”, but I *AM* challenging you to cite even *ONE* credible source to confirm your specious allegation that “…189 or so registered members of the communist / socialist party in American (sic) that are elected members of congress!”…
So, wha cha got, “Harvey1”, anything…???…or NOTHING…???…
( Even if you despise them, it is customary to capitalize “Congress”, and “Communist Party”.…..and,
“socialist” more commonly refers to “Nationalist Socialist”, i.e. “Nazi”, or “neo-Nazi”…)…
None of which has ANYTHING to do with the Air Force MAYBE scrapping the KC-10 tanker fleet…
But then, relevance was never Flush Limpbaughs’ strong suit, either…

Are you kidding me? Every branch has a mission and the people trained for it. All one has to do is study history
and see the Air leadership try to convence the ground generals the importance of air power reference genbilly Mitchell for one.

…I’m not sure what Steve means by “triservice”…???…
But he’s correct that the “interservice rivalry” is STOOPID, wasteful, and counter-productive…
In terms of equipment and coordination, there should be much more cooperation, and interchange between the branches…Separate uniforms and traditions is great, but to have, say, an “Air Force radio”, that can’t talk with an Army radio, is simply idiotic…

Doesn’t anybody want to know WHY! It costs so much and takes so long for BOING, (as in cash register “BOING), to develop a tanker from an aircraft (767) that’s been around for so long that the airlines are retiring them (lots) because they’re obsolete and not cost-effective anymore! What the hell! When I worked on them years ago they were a pain in the A$$, because of their engines and sub-systems. The airlines started to lose faith because the 200 series didn’t have enough range and the 400s couldn’t carry enough payload, they did have more range but it wasn’t cost effective. So, WHY does the USAF want an OLD DESIGN that already has issues? I can see a 777 based tanker but the 767???? And retire the KC-10!!! It’s a very effective tanker/hauler. Oh wait, that’s right, he did say “short-term gains” meaning he needs the money for the f35 program. But wait, if he has the 767 tanker, doesn’t he still have TWO types of tanker to support! HMMM! The spin from D.C. is more like a tornado of B/S then a whirlwind of double-speak!

It has been said over and over that the F35 is the most expensive weapons system so the brain trust in DOD or DAF are going to retire the best ground attack a/c in the world and putting in it place a flying computer that was really not meant to be on the deck. As for tankers Stupid is as stupid does, the KC135 doesn’t owe the US a thing (best buy ever) some will be flying when my grandson’s, retire, but general the KC10 is 30 YEARS newer..
As long as the congress keeps tripping over there own feet the AF is doomed to be a second rate power. Remember these butt heads on election day they all need REAL jobs outside the government…

Was anyone around back in the 90s? All the cuts during the Clinton administration on defense ring a bell? Just ride out the time…Our Commander-In-Chief will be gone in less than three more years, then we’ll start the country’s/DOD’s recovery process again.Two Steps forward, One step back…or is it the other say around??? Thank God Barrack’s name won’t make it onto retirement Certificate!

You may find that drafting people and giving them the benefits of the AVF will increase costs for the government in the long run.

It would be interesting to use the military as the gruntpower for missions such as border defense, but we would still need “law enforcement officers” to seperately serve as officers of the peace.

Then again, considering the DHS money we pump into police departments, they are pretty well-equipped when it comes to small arms. The days of North Hollywood are over.

Let’s just quit .…bring home all the troops ‚muster them out of the Armed Forces…Scrap the Aircraft, Scrap the Ships and Boats, Scrap the Missiles and Warheads, Scrap the Weapons and Ammo, Scrap the Bases and Posts , And just NOT HAVE A MILITARY ‚Due to a stupid Law instituted by Stupid Lawmakers, led by Stupid a Aadministration called Sequestration…Now.…..Hide and watch what happens.…NOBODY WILL BE HAPPY LIVING IN A THIRD WORLD ENVIRONMENT…Hunger..political strife, religious persecution and a totalitarian government…no freedoms and death at everyone’s doorstep.….WE NEED TO MODERNIZE AND SUPPORT OUR MILITARY, UPDATE AND IMPROVE OUR WEAPONS SYSTEMS, AND TREAT OUR MILITARY PERSONNEL,PRESENT , PAST AND FUTURE.WITH THE RESPECT AND FINANCIAL STABILITY THEY AND THIER FAMILIES DESERVE…SEQUESTRATION BE DAMNED..CONGRESS, DOD„,GROW A PAIR AND DO THE RIGHT THING FOR OUR COUNTRY, OR REAP THE CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR DECISIONS/ACTIONS !!!

Don’t worry folks, China is building their Forces up real fast. It will only be a few more years and we will be dumping every dam dime into rearming OUR forces ( if its not to late by then)

Well, ya know, Dennis, if we actually DID just SCRAP America’s MIC — our Military Industrial Complex…
And used all that scrap to build homes, and greenhouses, and biofuel plants…and repair all our transportation infrastructure, and rebuild all our schools, and hospitals, and make fuel-efficient cars for everybody…
Well, Congress & Wall Street would have conniption fits, and Hollywood & Silicone Valley of the Dolls be damned, but, BUT, what would the rest of the World do…???…
Nothing. We’d still have 300million small arms in the hands of American Patriots…
You make much more sense, when you’re not shouting in all caps, Dennis…
Their power lies in our fear, Dennis…

I wish that some of these people at the Pentagon would pull their heads out. The KC –10 is a very reliable aircraft and carries about twice as much fuel as the KC-135. I should know, I worked on them as a Hydraulic Technician for 3 years. The new KC-46 is a great addition to the fleet — just retire some of the 135’s that always break down and are unreliable. The KC-10 is a great plane made by then McDonnell/Douglas at Long Beach,CA — this plane is just too good to mothball. Someone really needs to rethink this bungle and use some God given common sense!!!! Save the KC-10 from extinction!__

You’ll can watch this on you tube ( Pentagon War ) : and then make your COMMENTS this is your
leaders. TODAY

Can’t we all get along!!!!! (Rodney King) after he’d been whoop!
Some body wake dis pres up, cause the sh-t bout to hit da fan! SOLID!

Give them to the Forest Service.

Discussed the F-35 with a former U-2 & SR-71 Pilot, currently on the program. He was enthused about the lightening ii, and it capabilities. It beats an F-15 range & payload with stealth. More can be loaded on wing stations. The B beats the Harrier every way, and has show it on its sea trials. Integration of all of the extra’s has challenged the software writers. Too many young people just playing games on the computers, instead of learning to write the computer code.

Good job Arthur, it’s always great to talk to the jocks and he sounds genuinely enthusiastic; BUT! I’ve never known any pilot who couldn’t wait to strap into the latest machine the taxpayers bought for him! The problem is in this case, what is the cost to give them this new marvel! Does impoverishing the USAF in order to get the newest piece of whizbang really make sense. Yes, I’m sure that if we expended enough money on it we could make it invisible, no I mean really invisible. But is that really necessary! It’s been documented enough already that the USAF brass hats are canceling other programs to divert the money into this beast. I don’t think it’s worth the cost and I certainly don’t want to watch the Air Force wander down a road thkat will leave us vulnerable. We need the tankers and support aircraft, not buck rogers!

You Know; if everything is on the table why not put NATO up for a budget looksee! Why are we still paying to keep the Europeans on the light side of the force! For that matter, why not throw in the cost of the United Nations! I for one am just fine with those jackasses moving on to some other poor unsuspecting country! Yeah, let’s cut NATO loose and let them fend for themselves! Hell, when’s the last time they offered help to us with the border or the wars on “terror”, hah, or the “drug war”, HAH! I think we ought to shrink back inside our on borders again for a while and in about ten years we can take on the winners of the Europe-middle east wars! Shazam!!!

I agree 100%. I did 21 years in the AF flying KC-97’s and KC-135’s for over 6000 hours with 3 Air Medals. Almost of it was grossly underpaid service. Lost my right knee and was retired with 10% disability which was reduced from my retired pay. The military works to a mission, if the mission is to stop the invasion of our country from the Mexican border. Then the military can do it and not take any prisoners. Retire the KC-10. They will be pickled in the desert at DM Air Force Base for future use if needed.

for get this country movin to mexico

I’m a kc-10 jet troop and I’m actually super happy to hear this. This is a terrible jet lol. PLEASE retire this pos.

These decision’s seem to being made by Generals looking for work on the out side. If the Air Force doesn’t want the A-10’s give them to the Marines — they’d love having the weapons system. Dropping the KC-10 — the most functional tanker in the world, for the KC46, which is a serious piece of junk and has a many problems with it’s program as the JSF, another waste of $$$. They sucked out with the F22, not the F23 which was better — all poor politics and greed! SO — just continue upgrading that platform along with the F15C. Try saving $$$ by not buying JUNK!

Hey, but I bet there’s enough $$$ to buy a few more 757 — 737 — Gulfstream G5’s to go on holiday and person use!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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