McNabb: New Air Force tanker needed to save fuel, money

Tuesday - 2/8/2011, 2:27pm EST

The old refueling tankers the Air Force still uses aren't just outdated but also waste millions of gallons of fuel - and millions of defense dollars.

General Duncan McNabb, in charge of the U.S. Transportation Command, says in GovExec that he needs the new version of the KC-135 tanker "yesterday." He says an updated version will save millions of gallons of fuel by reducing the load the tankers have to carry back to base.

McNabb says the military uses more fuel in a day - about 5 million pounds of it - than the weight of the cargo they move around. The transports that haul most of the cargo from the U.S. to overseas bases - usually have to be refueled in-flight at least once.

McNabb says his primary concern isn't the planes we have today. It's what's going to happen 20 years from now - because it's going to take a long time to replace them.

Final offers on a contract bid to build new tankers are due this week.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.