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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 504-04
May 25, 2004

Department of Defense Defers Tanker Lease Decision

Secretary of Defense has deferred a decision on the tanker recapitalization program until additional studies now underway can be completed later this year. The decision was based in part onrecommendations made by the Defense Science Boards Aerial Refueling Task Force.

The data evaluated by the task force led them to conclude that the corrosion problem on KC-135s can be managed and the operating and maintenance cost growth on the tanker fleet may not be as large as earlier estimates.

The Task Force also concluded that the Mobility Capability Study being conducted by the Director of Program Analysis and Evaluation (PA&E) would provide more clarity on the question of tanker recapitalization. In addition, the Task Force found that future potential decisions regarding the matter would benefit from the completion of the Air Forcess ongoing Analysis of Alternatives, a comprehensive look at other aerial refueling options.

Based on DSB Task Force Study conclusions, the Secretary of Defense has directed that both studies the Air Force Analysis of Alternatives and the PA&E Mobility Capability Requirements be completed by November 2004.