The Vital Link
The Tanker's Role in Winning America's Wars
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This paper focuses on the unique and vital capabilities of the US Air Force's KC-135 tanker fleet. It analyzes historic and current tanker usage, tanker operational employment, and the capability of today's tanker fleet, with emphasis on force structure and force management. In light of decreasing budgets, aging airframes, increase downtime for maintenance, and an explosion in the operations tempo, this paper proposes a four-pronged methodology addressing tanker vision, organization, training and employment, as the correction needed to get the KC-135 weapon system back on centerline. This will allow the tanker to effectively aid the Air Force in successfully deterring conflict and, if needed, quickly win the nation's future wars.
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