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Whither the Tanker Fleet?

February 26, 2006—The 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review did stipulate that the Air Force should recapitalize its aerial refueling fleet, but it does not say how quickly or whether replacing the elderly KC-135s will be on a one for one basis. In its annual review of defense spending, the Congressional Budget Office reckoned that USAF would begin to replace its KC-135s in 2008, buying Boeing KC-767s—the particular airframe to be purchased is open to competition. The CBO graph shows fewer tankers in service by 2024 than today.

Source: Congressional Budget Office, “The Long Term Implications of Current Defense Plans and Alternatives: Detailed Update for Fiscal Year 2006.