DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – Approximately 40 years after the KC-10 Extender took to the skies for the first time, a retiring KC-10 from the 305th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, arrived at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) here, July 13 to begin the storage process.
Upon arrival, possession of the aircraft changed from Air Mobility Command, to the Air Force Materiel Command, and the plane became part of the inactive inventory to be used as a source of parts for the active fleet.
Based on the DC-10 civilian aircraft, the KC-10 is a “workhorse” of an aircraft, with tremendous payload and refueling capability. It can carry 356,000 pounds of fuel, up to 75 people, and around 170,000 pounds of cargo more than 4,400 miles unrefueled.
Over the last 40 years, the KC-10 fleet has flown approximately 2,255,000 flight hours and 409,000 sorties, delivering air refueling support to joint and coalition aircraft.
“This [AMARG induction] is a major milestone in the life of a weapons system,” said Joe Stupic, KC-10 System Program Manager, with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. “In AFLCMC, we manage and are responsible for the life cycle [of aircraft and other weapon systems] from the glint in the eye or idea, development, modernization, and sustainment, to their very last day, with the last plane going into retirement. We manage the whole thing.”
Commonly referred to as ‘The Boneyard,’ AMARG is a 2,600 acre aerospace storage, preservation, maintenance, and regeneration facility managed by AFMC, with more than 4,400 retired aircraft and 13 aerospace vehicles from the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and other federal agencies such as NASA.
In support of this first retirement, the KC-10 program office in coordination with Headquarters Air Mobility Command (AMC) finalized all engineering, logistic and programmatic actions required to formally turnover the first KC-10 aircraft to the AMARG. A joint team from AFLCMC and AMC worked with AMARG employees to take the KC-10 through a series of measures to protect it while in storage, to include draining all of the fuel and hydraulics, and sealing the aircraft up.
“We will help them with the technical part of preserving the plane,” said Stupic. “We built the work specification for them, and we’ll provide engineering and tech support for the first time they do it.”
With the first retirement to AMARG, there are now 58 active KC-10s in the fleet. An additional two aircraft are expected to retire to AMARG this year.
“The KC-10 fleet is operating well, and will continue to fly,” Stupic said. “While this is the first to go to AMARG, it doesn’t mean that our job is done. We have more support to provide until the whole fleet is drawn down, all the contracts closed and parts dispositioned.”