With more than 500 tankers in line, the US Air Force alone has more than 70% of the global air fleet specializing in this area. But a large part of its fleet, in particular the almost 400 KC-135 still in service, are reaching their age limit, and must be replaced by the new KC-46 Pegasus, an aircraft costing more than $ 150m each, $ 250 million taking into account R&D and the additional costs linked to development difficulties. In order to absorb the budgetary shock of such an acquisition, but also to have greater flexibility for the withdrawal of KC-135s in the face of delays in the KC-46 program, the General Staff of the US Air Force imagined being able to call on private service providers for certain refueling missions, as it already does for training missions and in particular for the “Agressor” forces.
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