The US Air Force has awarded Boeing a contract for engineering sustainment support on the KC-135 fleet support programme.

Under the five-year, $20m annual contract, the company will provide structural systems and aerospace analysis, prototyping modifications and upgrades as well as liaison engineering support for Tinker Air Force Base programme depot maintenance and back shops.

The company will also provide in-flight emergency support, and accident and incident investigations.

The KC-135 Stratotanker is an aerial refuelling aircraft. Modified KC-135s can also serve as flying command posts, pure transport, electronic reconnaissance and photo mapping craft.

The contract will be effective from 1 January 2011.