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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 365-03
May 23, 2003

ALDRIDGE ANNOUNCES DETAILS OF TANKER LEASE PROGRAM

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.

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