KC-10A  Extender

Manufacturer: Boeing
Designation: KC-10
Version: A
Nickname: Extender
Type: Tanker
Crew: 4
Length: 181' 7"
Height: 58' 1"
Wingspan: 165' 4.5"
Gross Weight: 590,000 lbs
No. of Engines: 3
Powerplant: GE CF6-50C2 turbofans
Thrust (each): 52,500 each engine
Range: 4,400 miles w/cargo - 11,500 w/o cargo
Max Speed: 619.00 Mph
Ceiling: 42,000 Ft

170,000 lbs 


Designed by Boeing Aircraft as a modification of their DC-10 commercial airliner, the KC-10A Extender aerial re-fueler was intended as a replacement for the venerable KC-135 Strato-tanker. Accepted into the United States Air Force in 1981, the KC-10A shares 88% of its systems with the DC-10 with the added capability of specialized military avionics including an aerial refueling boom, refueling hose and drogue, boom operator station, aerial refueling receptacle, and satellite communications equipment.

Conceptualized as the next generation of aerial tankers the KC-l0 combined the tasks of a tanker and cargo aircraft. Carrying more than 356,000 pounds of fuel - twice as much as the KC-135 Stratotanker – 75 personnel, and 170,000 pounds of cargo, the KC-10 could transport entire units of support personnel while re-fueling their deploying fighters enroute. The KC-10 could also be used to transport litter and ambulatory patients using patient support pallets during aeromedical evacuations.

Unlike previous re-fuelers, the KC-10's boom operator controls refueling operations through a digital, fly-by wire system. Sitting in the rear of the aircraft, the operator can see the receiver aircraft through a wide window. During boom refueling operations, fuel is transferred to the receiver at a maximum rate of 1,100 gallons per minute.

The KC-10 fleet was used extensively during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1991, Operation Allied Force in 1999 and during the War on Terror following the September 11, 2001, attack.

The museum’s KC-10 Extender tail number 84-0185 was built in Long Beach California and delivered to the United Sates Air Force, March AFB in September 1984 with subsequent assignments to Travis AFB. It was flown to March Field Air Museum in 2023 for permanent display. It remains on loan from the NMUSAF.

KC-10A 84-0185 landing at March Air Force Base 1986

Dan Stijovich