Lockheed Martin has unveiled the LMXT as America’s next strategic tanker that builds on the combat-proven design of the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) made specifically for the US Air Force.
The LMXT, which stands for ‘Lockheed Martin Next Tanker,’ was offered in response to the US Air Force’s KC-Y Program to develop a new aircraft that will supplement its fleet of Boeing KC-46A tankers. The refueling tanker complements the US Air Force’s tanker capabilities by providing the most advanced aerial refueler to meet America’s immediate and long-term mission requirements.
Some improvements of the new model include a significantly improved range, fuel offload capacity, operational and combat-proven advanced camera and vision system, and upgraded communications system. The tanker will have 271,700 pounds (123,241 kg) of fuel capacity – 12,000 kg more than the Airbus A330 MRTT and an almost 20-hour endurance.
“Lockheed Martin has a long and successful track record of producing aircraft for the US Air Force, and we understand the critical role tankers play in ensuring America’s total mission success,” said Greg Ulmer, executive vice president Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “The LMXT combines proven performance and operator-specific capabilities to meet the Air Force’s refueling requirements in support of America’s National Defense Strategy.”
In addition to better range and increased payload, the LMXT tanker is equipped with a proven fly-by-wire boom currently certified and used by allies to refuel US Air Force receiver aircraft in operations around the world, the world’s first fully automatic boom/air-to-air refueling (A3R) system, and open system architecture JADC2 (Joint All-Domain Command and Control) systems.
The A330 MRTT is also in use by 13 nations and has logged more than 250,000 flight hours refueling the US and allied fighter, transport, and maritime patrol aircraft in combat theater environments. The MRTT is already certificated to refuel multiple US military types, including the Boeing B-1B, C-17, E-3, E-7, F-15 and P-8A, Fairchild Republic A-10, and Lockheed F-16, F-22, and F-35A.