Air Mobility Command is modifying the palletized lavatory and galley systems to avoid possible “spillage” as KC-46s take off and land, after issues arose with the system during operations.
The Air Transportable Galley-Lavatory is a palletized combination lavatory and galley that provides additional toilets, beverage production, and refrigeration for multiple mobility aircraft on long-distance missions with additional passengers. The system is not a part of the KC-46 itself. It has been in service since the 1980s and has been used extensively on various platforms, though the KC-46’s cargo loading layout has caused some problems.
The Pegasus has “unique floor cargo loading restrictions” that require the system to be flown on a narrow axis, instead of the wider axis that can be used in other aircraft, such as the C-17 and C-130. This has caused spillage problems “during steep ascents and descents,” AMC spokeswoman 1st Lt. Emma Quirk said in an April 14 statement.
In response, AMC is testing a potential solution to fix the problem. The KC-46 program office will modify six of the ATGL systems over the next 12 weeks, and the systems will be evenly divided between three KC-46 bases—McConnell Air Force Base, Kan.; Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H.; and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.
The redesign comes as AMC plans to begin flying the KC-46 in limited operational roles. In the meantime, crews will use the aircraft’s built-in lavatory, AMC said.
USAF also is addressing two more problems with the ATGL system. First, since the system has been in use for about 40 years and is used extensively, many of the units are “unserviceable or partially mission capable,” Quirk said. AMC and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center are working to continue a sustainment contract. Secondly, the systems require a restraint modification upgrade to ensure they remain safely attached to their floor pallet, according to AMC.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) raised the issue with U.S. Transportation Command boss Gen. Stephen Lyons, after multiple groups of lawmakers flew on the aircraft from nearby Joint Base Andrews, Md. Lyons said he was not aware of operational impacts arising from the issue.