We reported in Wednesday’s Daily Report column that the Air Force plans to recapitalize its aerial tanker fleet in three steps, labeled KC-X, KC-Y, and KC-Z. Previously, service officials have said the KC-X and KC-Y acquisition programs were meant to replace the KC-135 fleet and the KC-Z procurement would replace the KC-10 fleet. However, an Air Force spokesman said on Oct. 30 the service has modified this approach. “The strategy for KC-135 recapitalization is a three-increment approach [KC-X, KC-Y, and KC-Z]. Where the KC-10 may fit in this recapitalization has not yet been determined,” said the spokesman. Worth noting: senior Air Force officials—including Air Mobility Command chief Gen. Paul Selva—have said recently divesting the KC-10 fleet might be among the “vertical cuts” the Air Force would consider if it must manage to budget-sequester-level spending levels or less.
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.