NEXT GENERATION AERIAL REFUELING: CRITICAL CAPABILITY FOR PENETRATING CHINESE DENIED ENVIRONMENTS
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE, AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States
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The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how the KC-46, the next generation tanker, will improve air superiority and enable fighter and bomber aircraft to persist in a Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone ADIZ environment. The paper examines Chinas pursuit of an expansive ADIZ in the South and East China Seas SCSECS and the negative impacts of their pursuit on the global commons. This paper discusses one advantage China has that the U.S. military will need to counter through the capability enhancements of the KC-46. The methodology followed in this research is the problemsolution approach. The papers key findings demonstrate the current United States Air Force USAF tanker fleets inadequate capability to persist in a current environment of Chinese anti-accessarea-denial environment A2AD, given Chinas strategy and improvements in capability. Additionally, the research reveals that Chinas ADIZ poses a threat to the current U.S. forward bases in Japan, and South Korea. The papers recommendations include continued U.S. military sponsorship of the next generation tanker through improved funding for development and production through 2027. Further, the paper recommends additional or alternate forward basing locations in the Pacific region.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Transport Aircraft