The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded CAE USA a contract to provide comprehensive KC-135 aircrew training services at 13 USAF bases in the US and internationally, where more than 3,500 KC-135 pilots, co-pilots and boom operators train annually.

The KC-135 aircrew training system (ATS) programme delivers initial qualification, requalification, continuation and upgrade training for KC-135 aircrews.

CAE USA will provide programme management, academic and simulator instruction, maintenance and logistics services, training device upgrades, relocation services, and a training systems support centre.

Currently, there are 19 KC-135 operational flight trainers (OFTs), two KC-135 boom operator part-task trainers, one KC-135 cargo load trainer and a range of lower-level training devices that are used as part of the KC-135 ATS programme.

The contract has a nine-month base for approximately $20m, with nine one-year options.

The KC-135 Stratotanker is the primary aerial refuelling aircraft for the USAF, which currently operates a fleet of more than 400 KC-135 aircraft.

The USAF is conducting a competition for a new tanker aircraft that will replace older models in the fleet of KC-135 aircraft.