The expected revenge between Boeing and Airbus for the US Air Force tankers has now become a three-way competition.
On September 17, Lockheed Martin announced LMXT as its submission for the US Air Force’s KC-Y program.
As part of the KC-Y program, the Air Force is looking for a “tanker bridge” to replace the KC-135 Stratotanker fleet. It is seen as a stepping stone to a more futuristic tanker, the KC-Z.
Lockheed Martin states that “The LMXT represents the next chapter in Lockheed Martin’s more than 60-year history in the production and delivery of tankers and cargo ships for the US Air Force, US Marine Corps, l ‘US Navy and many operators around the world.
“Lockheed Martin has a long and successful history of producing aircraft for the US Air Force, and we understand the critical role that tankers play in the overall success of the US mission,” said Greg Ulmer, vice president executive of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “The LMXT combines proven performance and operator specific capabilities to meet Air Force refueling needs in support of the US national defense strategy.”
Lockheed Martin went on to say, “The LMXT offers a proven airframe with distinct capabilities uniquely for the US Air Force designed to meet operator requirements, with benefits that include:
* Significantly improved autonomy and fuel unloading capacity
* A proven fly-by-wire boom currently certified and used by the allies to refuel U.S. Air Force receiving aircraft in operations around the world
* The world’s first fully automatic air / open 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 LMXT to the larger battlespace, increasing situational awareness on board to provide resilient communications and data link for force-wide resources.
The Lockheed Martin strategic tanker is based on the combat-proven design of the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport. As prime contractor, Lockheed Martin works directly to implement US Air Force specific requirements within LMXT. As the strategic refueller of choice for 13 countries, the MRTT has logged more than 250,000 flight hours to refuel US and Allied fighter, transport and maritime patrol aircraft in combat theater environments.