Under Secretary of Defense for
Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Edward C. "Pete" Aldridge
(right) has announced the approval of the Air Force KC-767 tanker
lease initiative. In the next step, the Secretary of the Air Force
will forward a report to Congressional oversight committees
detailing the terms and conditions for review and approval.
The agreement provides for leasing 100 KC-767 aircraft from the
Boeing Co. for six years starting in 2006, at a cost of $131
million lease price plus an additional $7 million in lease-unique
costs per aircraft. The total cost will be less than $16 billion.
The initiative also includes a provision to purchase the aircraft
for about $4 billion at the end of the lease 2017.
The strategy allows the Air Force to begin replacing the KC-135E
tanker fleet three years earlier than planned. With an average age
of over 43 years, the KC-135E fleet is the oldest combat weapon
system in the Air Force inventory. [We don't know where they
classify the B-52; it's their words --ed.]
The KC-767 will be the world's newest and most advanced tanker.
It can offload 20 percent more gas than the KC-135E and unlike the
E-model, can itself be refueled in flight. It will also have the
capability to refuel Air Force, Navy, Marine and allied aircraft on