Lockheed Martin Enters U.S. Air Force’s Tanker Competition

The expected rematch between Boeing and Airbus for U.S. Air Force tankers, has now become a three-way competition.

Lockheed Martin announced the LMXT as its submission for the U.S. Air Force KC-Y program.

Under the KC-Y program, the Air Force is looking for a ‘bridge tanker’ to replace the KC-135 Stratotanker fleet. It is considered a stepping stone to a more futuristic tanker, the KC-Z.

Lockheed Martin says “the LMXT represents the newest chapter in Lockheed Martin’s 60-plus year history of producing and delivering tanker and cargo aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and multiple operators around the world.”

“Lockheed Martin has a long and successful track record of producing aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, and we understand the critical role tankers play in ensuring America’s total mission success,” said Greg Ulmer, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “The LMXT combines proven performance and operator-specific capabilities to meet the Air Force’s refueling requirements in support of America’s National Defense Strategy.”

Lockheed Martin went on to say in their announcement that “The LMXT offers a proven airframe with distinct U.S. Air Force-only capabilities designed to meet operator requirements, with advantages that include:

* Significantly improved range and fuel offload capacity
* A proven fly-by-wire boom currently certified and used by allies to refuel U.S. Air Force receiver aircraft in operations around the world
* The world’s first fully automatic boom/air-to-air refueling (A3R) system
* Operational and combat proven advanced camera and vision system
* Open system architecture JADC2 systems
* A multi-domain operations node that connects the LMXT to the larger battlespace, increasing onboard situational awareness to provide resilient communications and datalink for assets across the force.”

The Lockheed Martin strategic tanker builds on the combat-proven design of the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport. As the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin works directly to implement U.S. Air Force-specific requirements within the LMXT. As the strategic tanker of choice for 13 nations, the MRTT has logged more than 250,000 flight hours refueling U.S. and allied fighter, transport and maritime patrol aircraft in combat theater environments.

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