KC-10 Extender

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A modified DC-10, the KC-10A entered service in 1981. The KC-10A Extender is an advanced tanker and cargo aircraft designed to provide increased global mobility. The KC-10A can transport up to 75 people and about 170,000 pounds of cargo a distance of about 4,400 miles unrefueled.

The KC-10's six fuel tanks can carry more than 356,000 pounds of fuel, almost twice as much as the KC-135 Stratotanker. Using either an aerial refueling boom, or a hose and drogue refueling system, the KC-10A can refuel a wide variety of military aircraft within the same mission. The aircraft is outfitted with special lighting for operations at night.

The boom operator controls refueling operations through a digital fly-by-wire system. Sitting in the rear of the aircraft, the operator can see the receiver aircraft through a wide window. During boom refueling operations, fuel is transferred to the receiver at a maximum rate of 1,100 gallons per minute and the hose and drogue refueling maximum rate is 470 gallons per minute. The KC-10A can be air-refueled by a KC-135 or another KC-10A to expand its delivery range.

The KC-10A fleet is being modified to add wing-mounted pods to further enhance aerial refueling capabilities. They are operated by the 305th Air Mobility Wing, McGuire AFB, NJ, and the 60th Air Mobility Wing, Travis AFB, CA.

KC-10 Specifications
Primary FunctionAerial tanker and transport
Prime ContractorDouglas Aircraft Co., division of The Boeing Company
Power PlantThree General Electric CF6-50C2 turbofans
Thrust52,500 pounds (23,625 kilograms), each engine
Length181 feet, 7 inches (54.4 meters)
Height58 feet, 1 inch (17.4 meters)
Wingspan165 feet, 4.5 inches (50 meters)
Speed619 mph (Mach 0.825)
Ceiling42,000 feet (12,727 meters)
Maximum Takeoff Weight590,000 pounds (265,500 kilograms)
Range4,400 miles (3,800 nautical miles) with cargo; 11,500 miles (10,000 nautical miles) without cargo
Maximum Cargo Payload170,000 pounds (76,560 kilograms)
Pallet Positions27
Maximum Fuel Load356,000 pounds (160,200 kilograms)
CrewFour (aircraft commander, pilot, flight engineer and boom operator)
Date DeployedMarch 1981
Unit Cost86.8 million (FY 96 constant dollars)
InventoryActive force, 59; ANG, 0; Reserve, 0


All Information gathered from Air Force Link.