The US Air Force has awarded a contract to Cubic Defense Applications to supply equipment for testing the power units used to quick-start the engines of KC-135 Stratotanker refuelling planes.

Under the new air force contract, Cubic will produce 30 new KC-135 APU testers for Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, at its San Diego manufacturing facility.

Air force personnel will use the compact, toolbox-sized test equipment to test and troubleshoot the auxiliary power unit (APU), located in the tail of the aircraft.

The electricity generated by the APU is used to fire up the KC-135’s engines.

Equipped with a flying boom to provide fuel transfer and a drogue, the KC-135 Stratotanker is used primarily to refuel aircraft during flight.

Upgraded KC-135s, are also used as flying command posts, pure transport, electronic reconnaissance and photo mapping craft.

Cubic will begin delivery of the equipment in the middle of 2010.