11/23/2015: In this recent video from the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, the KC-30A is seen on the ramp being maintained.
The KC-30A is a clear maintenance success as highlighted in an interview with Air Vice Marshal Warren McDonald.
The RAAF has deployed a single KC-30A to the Middle East operation but that single aircraft has delivered close to 30 million pounds of fuel since its arrival in late Fall 2014. The aircraft has only needed a small technical footprint, some 10 technicians to deliver a mission success rate of around 95%.
“When you introduce a new platform like the KC-30A, you need to make sure you are not doing so under a legacy mindset. You need to test your mindset in real operations and then draw your conclusions as to the best way to maintain that aircraft. Once tested and verified you then need to shift your older maintenance approach to a new one, and subsequently reshape your workforce. This does not happen right away; it is a process that will take five to seven years see fully mature.
Nothing in the personnel space happens quickly, particularly when you must adapt to such a change. The technical workforce changes we see happening in the KC-30A will be seen in the workforces of any capability we introduce, the P-8A and F-35 are other examples.
In other words, we need to reshape our workforce to optimize the new capabilities that we are introducing, so that we aren’t stuck with a legacy of the past. It’s not that we don’t value our maintenance personnel, they are key to our success on any operation.
However, we must acknowledge the significant advances in engineering that have occurred, and therefore reshape the balance of air maintenance personnel inside air force.”
It has been suggested by the current PACAAF Commander that the USAF might seek to base USAF tankers in Australia as well.
It would have been nice if the USAF had the same aircraft as Australia as will be the case with the F-35 to get sustainment cost savings and efficiencies built into a global fleet.