AMC commander welcomes news of KC-X tanker request for proposal

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The announcement of the KC-X tanker request for proposal Sept. 24 in a Pentagon briefing is welcome news for Air Mobility Command.

"This is a great day not only for Air Mobility Command, which operates our nation's fleet of aerial refueling aircraft, but also for our country as this is a capability we critically need," said Gen. Arthur J. Lichte, the AMC commander. 

"As the warfighter, I'm glad to see this day come," the general said. 

The time is now to move on with this program, said General Lichte of the Air Force's No. 1 procurement priority. This is a critical commitment to recapitalize a key aircraft supporting the National Military Strategy. Tankers allow U.S. armed forces to reach any crisis or humanitarian relief operation in the world.

The KC-X will replace KC-135 Stratotankers that joined the Air Force inventory in the President Eisenhower-era and are approaching 50 years old. They are becoming increasingly more costly to maintain every year a replacement is delayed. This is also welcomed news for the Airmen who go to extraordinary lengths and spend countless hours maintaining the tankers to ensure they are safe and operationally ready for the aircrew who fly them.

The plan calls for 179 aerial refueling tankers to replace the KC-135. KC-X will also augment the airlift fleet by carrying cargo, passengers and medical patients in a secondary role.

This is also great news for our joint and coalition partners who rely on this critical capability to support operations around the world, including Afghanistan and Iraq, General Lichte said.