Air Platforms

USAF issues draft RFP for new Open Skies aircraft

01 March 2019

The US Air Force is looking to replace the two OC-135B aircraft (pictured) it has operated in the Open Skies role since 1996 with a pair of new aircraft. Source: US Air Force

The US Air Force (USAF) has issued a draft request for proposals (RFP) for its Open Skies Treaty Aircraft Recapitalization (OSTAR) requirement.

The draft RFP, released on 28 February, sets out the preliminary requirements for two aircraft to replace the USAF’s current pair of Boeing OC-135B platforms that have performed the role since 1996.

As noted in the solicitation, the aircraft will be a new-build platform that will be equipped with a Digital Visual Imaging System (DVIS), Mobile Digital Ground Processing System (MDGPS), and other mission kit.

According to the draft RFP, the OSTAR programme will be delivered in three phases: the first phase covering aircraft production and modification, the second covering delivery of the aircraft and operational testing, and the third covering the aircraft’s entry into service.

The programme will run from February 2020 to February 2030, and will be valued at no more than USD648 million. A final RFP is due to be released in May.

The USAF’s current OC-135B Open Skies platforms are crewed by three pilots, two navigators, and two sensor maintenance technicians (the DTRA mission flight crew), one mission commander, one deputy mission commander, two sensor operators, and one flight follower.

The aircraft are assigned to Air Combat Command (ACC) at the 55 Wing, 45th Reconnaissance Squadron, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska for operations, training, and maintenance.

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