posted on Mar, 1 2019 @ 08:26 PM
The Air Force has issued a draft RFP to replace the two OC-135Bs that currently fly the Open Skies missions. According to the RFP, the new aircraft
will be new build aircraft, capable of mounting the Digital Visual Imaging System, Mobile Digital Ground Processing System, as well as other mission
equipment. Phase one of the program will cover production and modification of the new aircraft, followed by delivery and operational testing, and
finally service entry. The program is set to run from 2020 until 2030.
The current OC-135 aircraft are crewed by 12 people, in addition to monitors from the country being overflown. The aircraft still use TF33 engines,
which are becoming more problematical as they age. The aircraft themselves are becoming more maintenance intensive, with one of the aircraft
suffering several mechanical failures while in Russia during a mission.