Rockwell will upgrade a total of three Boeing (NYSE:BA) KC-135R aerial refueling tankers for the French Air Force under a $44.5 million firm-fixed-price contract, installing the KC-135 Global Air Traffic Management Block 40 Upgrade for the airplanes. Work on the contract will be completed by Nov. 10, 2015.
The KC-135R Stratotanker is designed to refuel long-range bomber, fighter, and cargo aircraft in-flight, enhancing an air force's ability to project power over great distances. Its maximum fuel load is 200,000 pounds. The KC-135R can also be operated as a cargo transport itself, and is capable of carrying as much as 83,000 pounds of cargo in lieu of fuel. It is capable of flying at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet and at speeds approaching the speed of sound.
In the U.S., the KC-135R will ultimately be phased out as the new aerial refueling tanker -- the KC-46 -- is phased in. In early 2011, Boeing won the contract to build the new tanker for the U.S. Air Force.
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