Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Edward C. "Pete" Aldridge today announced the approval of the Air Force KC-767 tanker lease initiative. In the next step, the Secretary of the Air Force will now 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.
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 every mission.