By TIM D. SHEPPARD and ANTHONY BECK / Reuters – NOV.
21, 2020The United States military says it’s pulling the plug on a plan to convert some of its transport aircraft to refueling pods and has announced it will not send the aircraft back to service.
In a statement, the Pentagon said on Monday that it was ending its effort to convert the B-52 Stratofortress into a refueling platform.
It also said that it will no longer send some aircraft back into service, including the KC-130H Super Hercules, its most heavily used air force transport.
The decision marks the end of an effort to upgrade the B52 with the most modern and capable capabilities, the statement said.
The B-72 Stratoforts would be upgraded with the capability to use the refueling pod.
In December, President Donald Trump ordered the Air Force to begin the process of converting some of the older B-2 bombers to refuel pods, after a lack of progress on the conversion.
In addition, the service had begun the process to convert a B-1B Lancer bomber into a pod.
Trump said in December he was pushing for the conversion of the Bases at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland and Fort Worth, Texas, to be completed before the end the fiscal year.
The service is expected to begin operations at the two sites in 2018.
The service’s previous plans included sending B-62 bombers to the refuel sites in 2019, and later the B1B.
But the B2B was cancelled because of budget cuts.
The Air Force said it would still send some B-21 bombers to a refuel station at Davis-Monthan Air Force base in Arizona, but that those aircraft would be converted into a passenger plane.
It is unclear whether those aircraft will be sent back to the service.