KC-Z - KC-135R Replacement

The Air Force revised its acquisition strategy and plans to recapitalize the aerial tanker fleet by developing three consecutive acquisition programs: KC-X, KC-Y, and KC-Z. The intention of those programs was to represent different tanker aircraft platforms. Follow-on programs, the KC-Y and KC-Z, will replace another 300-plus KC-135s and 59 wide-body KC-10s. Air Force staff have described the KC-Y and KC-Z programs as budgetary "off ramps."

The KC-Z, to replace the KC-135Rs is planned for the 2027-2036 time-frame. The Air Force intends to replace the fleet of more than 500 KC-135s, and the Mobility Capabilities Study of 2005 set the requirement for KC-135s at a range of between 520 to 640 aircraft. Replacement of this fleet is estimated to cost a minimum of $72 billion. The plan calls for procurement of nine KC-Zs a year until 2048.

Join the mailing list


privacy policy