SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Illinois --
Among the key features announced in the Air Force Fiscal Year 2021 President's Budget Request released today, Air Mobility Command is projected to face several recommended force structure adjustments to its aerial refueling and Total Force tactical airlift fleets.
"The FY21 budget makes hard choices in the Air Force between retaining legacy force structure and making capital investments to ensure we have an Air Force capable of meeting future requirements to defeat and deter great power competitors," said Gen. Maryanne Miller, Air Mobility Command commander. "Air mobility force structure was part of those choices."
For tactical airlift, the FY21 budget recommends a reduction of 24 Total Force C-130H Hercules in Fiscal Year 2021, removing the oldest aircraft from the fleet. Simultaneously, the TF tactical airlift fleet will grow by 19 C-130Js. At the time of the FY21 PBR release, no decision has been made on what units will be affected by C-130 force structure adjustments.
For aerial refueling, the FY21 budget proposes reductions to the legacy tanker fleet, including 13 KC-135R Stratotankers and 16 KC-10 Extenders in Fiscal Year 2021.
"AMC and U.S. Transportation Command’s capacity to support Joint Force aerial refueling requirements is affected by proposed tanker force structure adjustments in the FY21 PBR," said Miller. "The effect of legacy tanker reductions is compounded by the fact that the KC-46A remains unable to accomplish its primary mission. This increased risk to executing our operational aerial refueling mission is a matter of concern that has been raised by the Commander of USTRANSCOM."
"As we incur additional warfighting risk with legacy tanker force reductions and reduced aerial refueling capacity, it further increases the importance of fielding a KC-46A Pegasus capable of performing all operational missions as soon as possible," said Miller. "Correction of major deficiencies in the KC-46A, especially with the Remote Vision System, are a necessary condition to ensure that Joint Force aerial refueling requirements can be met within the bounds of acceptable risk over the long-term."
AMC’s future tanker force is envisioned to consist of a mix of upgraded KC-135s and KC-46s.
Miller said AMC has and will continue to assess projected impacts to airlift and air refueling capacity as the Department of Defense commits to investing in the nation’s highest priorities as outlined in the National Defense Strategy.
For more information about the FY21 Air Force Budget, visit the Secretary of the Air Force Financial Management and Comptroller website at https://www.saffm.hq.af.mil/FM-Resources/Budget/.