The U.S. Air Force’s decades-long quest to recapitalize its aging KC-135 tanker fleet is entering its most critical phase: an intense aerial refueling demonstration that, if successful, will clear the final hurdle to an initial KC-46A production contract. Remarkably, it’s been nearly 36 years since the Air Force last engaged in similar work. Then it was starting tests of the KC-10A, the last all-new tanker to be acquired before the service launched its KC-X ...

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