WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Jon Runyan (R-NJ-03) and Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA-03) have introduced H.R. 4230 bipartisan legislation that seeks to limit the retirement of the KC-10 aircraft.
Retiring the entire KC-10 fleet was not part of the Obama Administration’s FY15 defense budget proposal, yet Secretary of Defense Hagel stated that “if sequestration resumes at full force in 2016, the Air Force would have to retire its entire fleet of KC-10 tankers.”
This legislation seeks to ensure that the KC-10 tanker aircraft fleet is not retired prematurely and is available to continue to carry out its critical air refueling and cargo missions.
The bill specifies that no funds can be used to retire or store the KC-10 aircraft until the new KC-46A tanker has been tested, is fully operational, and four test and 18 initial tankers have been delivered.
“Air Mobility Command is responsible for the rapid delivery of military assets around the world – something that will continue to grow in importance. This bill would strengthen the continuity of this vital mission,” said Congressman Garamendi, co-chair of the Congressional Air Mobility Caucus.
“This bipartisan legislation would ensure that the Air Force maintains its strategic refueling capability as it transitions from the KC-10 to the KC-46 aircraft over the next few years,” said Garamendi. “The bill requires that critically important acquisition and delivery milestones for the KC-46 are met before a KC-10 divesture could occur. This bill would help maintain stability in the military operations at Travis Air Force Base, our nation’s ‘Gateway to the Pacific.’”
“The KC-10 aircraft, which is the largest, newest, and most capable refueling aircraft currently in the military’s inventory, is a workhorse and vital to meeting air refueling mission taskings for the Arctic, Trans-Atlantic, and Pacific routes,” said Congressman Runyan.
“As one of two primary homes to the KC-10, JB MDL is vital to carrying out these critical missions,” said Runyan. “The KC-10 has made a huge impact on mission readiness by combining long-range aerial refueling and cargo transport, and can be refueled in flight. It is crucial that we keep the KC-10 in full operation until the new KC-46 is completely ready for prime time.”
Runyan and Garamendi, both members of the House Armed Services Committee, teamed up last October and sent a letter to Secretary Hagel urging the DoD not to eliminate the entire fleet of KC-10 aircraft.
Both congressmen also have addressed this issue on several occasions with Air Force and DoD leadership in recent and past House Armed Services Committee hearings and conference calls, expressing their strong concerns that the KC-10 not be retired prematurely.