Lockheed Martin selects GE engines for LMXT USAF tanker offering
Lockheed Martin has announced the selection of GE Aerospace's CF6-80E1 turbofan for the LMXT strategic tanker.
The LMXT is Lockheed Martin's solution for the USAF's KC-135 recapitalisation plan (known as KC-Y or Bridge Tanker) and is based on the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT).
'America's tanker fleet will play a critical role in meeting future mission requirements. This means the LMXT must use capable and proven technologies, such as the MRTT strategic tanker and GE Aerospace's CF6 engine,' said Greg Ulmer, executive VP, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. '
Designed specifically for the A330, the CF6-80E1 variant offers technological advancements over previous CF6 engines, including nearly 70,000lb and 15% greater fuel efficiency.
The LMXT has a certified automatic air-to-air refuelling (A3R) boom, Enhanced Vision System and integrated JADC2 suite.
The USAF announced in March 2023 it would be halving the number of KC-Y tankers it originally planned to buy in the next decade from roughly 150 to about 75.
Citing expectations of potential future conflicts in contested airspace, 'the approach is meant to ensure future tankers will be able to survive a war in which they are likely targeted'.
The first delivery of KC-Y aircraft is expected to be in 2029 following the final deliveries of the ongoing KC-46 project. The USAF will issue a formal request by the end of 2023, according to a Congressional Research Service estimate.
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