Air Mobility Command officials at Scott AFB, Ill., recently conducted the first KC-135 egress exercise to determine whether the Air Force can increase the amount of space-available passengers whom the tanker can accommodate. The Illinois Air National Guard’s 126th Air Refueling Wing at Scott supported the exercise, which assessed how many passengers one passenger monitor could safely evacuate from the tanker in 90 seconds. More than 60 volunteers participated, along with the aircraft’s pilots and a boom operator. The number of passengers varied from 27 to 54 in the test scenarios, and the number of egress sites depended on the configuration of cargo loaded on the aircraft. Test results and completed surveys will support passenger handling policy changes for the KC-135, said AMC officials. Service members, retirees, and their family members are eligible to fly on US military aircraft if there are seats available. (Scott report by SSgt. Stephanie Wade)
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.