A “go” from the QDR is pursuit of a replacement aerial tanker, although the program may not get a formal launch until 2007. The Air Force is leaning toward a combination tanker/cargo aircraft, not unlike the KC-10, which could swing between the two missions at need. Gen. Norton Schwartz, head of US Transportation Command, says the new airplane would give him maximum “versatility” in responding to a broad range of contingencies. The move, however, seems to be the death knell for the KC-767, which is not considered beefy enough in its lifting capacity to meet the Air Force’s new vision. Boeing is expected to offer a variant of its 777 airliner.
The Department of the Air Force has selected Patrick Space Force Base, Fla., as the preferred location for Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM) headquarters—and hopes to start moving in by fall of next year.