KC-10 Extender

Product Type:

Aerial Refueling Aircraft

Service (US):

Air Force (USAF)

Program Status:

Sustainment and Upgrades

Prime Contractors:

Boeing (McDonnell Douglas)

Specifications Armament DoD Spending FY2015 Budget

The KC-10 Extender

About the KC-10:





The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) KC-10 Extender is an advanced tanker and cargo aircraft designed to provide increased global mobility for U.S. armed forces. The KC-10's primary mission is aerial refueling, however, the aircraft is able to transport cargo and passengers - all at the same time. For example, the KC-10 can combine the tasks of a tanker and cargo aircraft by refueling fighters and simultaneously carry fighter support personnel and equipment on overseas deployments. Furthermore, the KC-10 is capable of transporting litter and ambulatory patients during aeromedical evacuations.

The KC-10 is based on McDonnell Douglas' commercial DC-10 Series 30 and, although it retains 88% systems commonality, it has additional systems and equipment necessary to perform aerial refueling missions. These additions include military avionics; aerial refueling boom and aerial refueling hose and drogue; seated aerial refueling operator station; aerial refueling receptacle; and satellite communications.

The KC-10A is powered by three General-Electric CF6-50C2 turbofan engines, each delivering 52,500 pounds of thrust.

The KC-10 can transport up to 75 people and nearly 170,000 pounds (77,110 kilograms) of cargo a distance of about 4,400 miles (7,040 kilometers) unrefueled. In addition to the three main wing fuel tanks on the DC-10, the KC-10 has three large fuel tanks under the cargo floor, one under the forward lower cargo compartment, one in the center wing area, and one under the rear compartment. In total, the six tanks carry more than 356,000 pounds (161,500 kg) of fuel, which is 78% more than the KC-135 Stratotanker.

The KC-10's boom operator, seated in the rear of the aircraft, can physically see the receiver aircraft through a wide window and controls refueling operations through a digital computer system. During busy refueling operations, fuel can be transferred at a maximum rate of 1,100 gallons (4,180 liters) per minute, while The hose and drogue refueling maximum rate is 470 gallons (1,786 liters) per minute. The KC-10 itself can be refueled in the air by a KC-135 or another KC-10A to increase its delivery range.

The KC-10A is operated by the 305th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey and the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base in California. Air Force Reserve units are assigned to the 349th Air Mobility Wing at Travis AFB, and the 514th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

The KC-10 participated in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm in 1991, as well as in Yugoslavia in 1999. Furthermore, the KC-10 has flown more than 350 missions guarding U.S. skies as a part of Operation Noble Eagle. During Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, KC-10 aircraft have flown more than 1,400 missions providing critical aerial refueling support to joint and coalition aircraft.

The KC-10 was built by McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach, CA, from 1979 to 1987 and a total of 60 KC-10s were delivered to the U.S. Air Force - the 60th and final aircraft was delivered in 1990. 59 aircraft are in active service with the U.S. Air Force as of April 2014. On average, the aircraft are 29 years old with 31 service years remaining (projected service life ending in 2045).



Armament/Weapons:

None.



Price/Unit Cost:

The KC-10 is no longer in production. In FY 1998 dollars the unit cost was $88.4 million.



Mission/Role:

The KC-10 Extender is an advanced tanker and cargo aircraft designed to provide increased global mobility for U.S. armed forces. Although the KC-10's primary mission is aerial refueling, it is able to combine the tasks of a tanker and cargo aircraft by refueling fighters and simultaneously carry fighter support personnel and equipment on overseas deployments. The KC-10 is also capable of transporting litter and ambulatory patients using patient support pallets during aeromedical evacuations.



FY 2014 DoD Program:

FY 2014 provides procurement funds in the amount of $55.0M for spares and modifications to the KC-10. The major modification in FY 14 is the KC-10 Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) program, which provides worldwide civil airspace accessibility by FY 2015 for the fleet of 59 aircraft. FAA airworthiness certification following the modification is required. An upgrade of the current Flight Management System (FMS) and Inertial Navigation System (INS) is required to meet the 2015 CNS/ATM requirements and address associated INS and FMS obsolescence issues.



FY 2015 DoD Program:

FY 2015 provides funds in the amount of $42.7M for spares and modifications to the KC-10. The major modification in FY 15 is the Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) program, which provides worldwide civil airspace accessibility for the KC-10 fleet.

For more information, click to see the FY 2015 Air Force KC-10 Budget.




Sources: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and The Boeing Company.

Last Update: June 17, 2014.

By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard /// (jkasper@bga-aeroweb.com)

External Resources:



The Boeing Company: KC-10 Extender


Engines: General Electric CF6-50 Turbofan Engine



YouTube: KC-10 Extender | YouTube Videos



Fact Sheet: Not Available

KC-10 U.S. Defense Spending Charts:

DoD Spending on the KC-10 Extender in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
DoD Purchases of KC-10 Extender aerial refueling aircraft in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
Defense Budget Data

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DoD Spending, Procurement and RDT&E: FY 2011/12/13 + Budget for FYs 2014 + 2015

DoD Defense Spending, Procurement, Modifications, Spares, and RDT&E for the KC-10 Extender

Download Official U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Budget Data:

Modification of KC-10A Aircraft (USAF) Aircraft Spares and Parts (USAF)
Specifications

Aircraft Specifications: KC-10A Extender

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Primary Function: Aerial refueling and transport
Prime Contractor: The Boeing Company
Power Plant: 3x General-Electric CF6-50C2 turbofan engines
Thrust: 52,500 pounds (each engine)
Wingspan: 165 ft 5 in (50.4 m)
Length: 181 ft 7 in (55.3 m)
Height: 58 ft 1 in (17.7 m)
Weight (Empty): 241,000 lbs (109,300 kg)
Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW): 590,000 lbs (267,500 kg)
Maximum Transfer Fuel Load: 356,000 lbs (161,500 kg)
Capacity: 170,000 lbs (77,110 kg) of cargo or 146,000 lbs (66,230 kg) of cargo + 75 passengers
Pallet Positions: 27 standard 463-L pallets
Speed: 538 kts/619 mph (996 km/h)
Rate of Climb: 6,870 ft/min (34.89 m/s)
Service Ceiling: 42,000 ft (12,800 m)
Range: 3,820 nm/4,400 miles (7,080 km) with 170,000 lbs (77,110 kg) of cargo and 75 passengers
Ferry: up to 10,000 nm/11,500 miles (18,500 km)
Crew: Four (pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, and boom operator). Certain missions may require additional crew members.
Aeromedical Evacuation Crew: A basic crew of five (two flight nurses and three medical technicians) is added.
Medical crew may be altered as required.
is added for aeromedical evacuation missions. Medical crew may be altered as required by the needs of patients.
Price/Unit Cost: $88.4 million (FY 1998 constant dollars)
First Flight: July 12, 1980
Deployed: March 1981
Inventory: Total: 59 /// Active: 59, ANG: 0; Reserve: 0 (as of April 2014)

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