The US Air Force (USAF) has received the first KC-10 aircraft under the contractor logistics support (CLS) agreement with L3 Technologies.

In June 2016, L3 Communications Vertex Aerospace secured a $1.9bn contract to provide logistics integration and support for the USAF's KC-10 aerial refuelling tankers.

L3’s Vertex Aerospace division secured the aircraft in January. In collaboration with subcontractor and primary depot provider HAECO/TIMCO of Greensboro, North Carolina, it finished a heavy maintenance check within six months.

L3 chairman and CEO Michael T Strianese said: “This is an important achievement that demonstrates our expertise and scope of services on the CLS programme.

“The Air Force is a long-time valued customer and we continue to work closely with them as a trusted partner to ensure ongoing KC-10 mission effectiveness.”

The company provides contractor-operated and maintained base supply (COMBS), field service representative (FSR) and depot maintenance support for 59 USAF KC-10 aircraft.

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"The Air Force is a long-time valued customer and we continue to work closely with them as a trusted partner to ensure ongoing KC-10 mission effectiveness."

The contract also covers COMBS and FSR support for the aerial refuelling system for two Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10 aircraft.

L3 is responsible for providing full support for the programme, including labour, materials, tools, equipment, parts and transportation.

Vertex Aerospace also provided logistics support for the KC-10 fleet from 1993 to 1998.

The latest contract award to L3 was stalled for about four months after competitor AAR Defense Systems and Logistics filed a protest in June last year, which was denied by the Government Accountability Office on 22 September the same year.

Image: A USAF KC-10 refuelling an F-16 Fighting Falcon. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Jerry Morrison.