by Chris McGee
Aeronautical Systems Center Public Affairs
4/25/2006 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- The Air Force has issued a request for information, or RFI, today for its tanker recapitalization program.
The Tanker Systems Modernization Systems Squadron of Aeronautical Systems Center’s Mobility Systems Wing here sent out the RFI for publication in Federal Business Opportunities and will manage the program.
By issuing the RFI, the Air Force has restarted the requirements and acquisition processes necessary for a traditional competitive acquisition program to replace the KC-135 Stratotanker.
ASC Commander Lt. Gen. Jack Hudson said, “We’re looking forward to starting this very, very important program. Tankers are key enablers for our fighters, bombers, and transports in worldwide operations, especially over Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The RFI requested information on KC-135 replacement platforms that is consistent with the findings of the Analysis of Alternatives, which focuses on a commercial-derivative tanker aircraft in the 300,000- to 1 million-pound-take-off weight class. The RFI asks for vendor inputs on capabilities to complement the recapitalization effort, such as specialized commercial aerial refueling services and KC-135 modifications and upgrades.
A draft request for proposal is expected to be released by September, with a final RFP to be published by January. The award of the contract is expected in summer 2007.
After issuing the RFI, the Air Force’s next steps include refining the operational requirements and developing an acquisition strategy. Terry Kasten, TSMSS director, said the squadron is working to complete and coordinate the overall acquisition strategy for the KC-X program as Air Mobility Command formalizes the requirements within the Air Force and joint organizations.
“This is an important early milestone on the path to recapitalizing our aerial refueling capability,” he said. “We are looking forward to proceeding with a full and open competition that secures our tanker needs well into the 21st century and ensures the best value for the American taxpayers.”
In a recent memorandum to Lt. Gen. Donald Hoffman, military deputy for Air Force acquisition, Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne lifted the hold placed on the KC-135 replacement acquisition program by then-Acting Secretary of the Air Force Pete Geren last September.
TSMSS manages the recapitalization and modernization of the world’s largest aerial refueling fleet. Along with overseeing replacement of the KC-135 tanker, the squadron also manages the modernization of KC-10 Extender aircraft.