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USAF Retaining KC-135 Tanker for Decades Due to Budget Cuts

The U.S. Air Force intends to retain use of its Boeing-made KC-135 tanker aircraft, that have been in the military’s fleet for over 60 years, due to budget constraints, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday.

Gen. Carlton Everhart, who led the branch’s Air Mobility Command through September, said the USAF expects the KC-135’s use to continue until the aircraft becomes a century old. He added that the aircraft shall remain in service until the intended replacement is ready for full implementation.

The first batch of KC-46, that would replace the KC-135, is slated arrive at McConnell Air Force Base before the year ends. The Government Accountability Office said 179 units of the new aircraft would replace approximately one-third of USAF’s current refueler fleet.

The report noted that the number of replacements is smaller than anticipated, and requires the Air Force to observe the continued use of the KC-135.

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