Posted by John McHaleTAMPA, Fla., 17 Dec. 2010. CAE announced that CAE USA won a U.S. Air Force contract to provide comprehensive KC-135 aircrew training services. Under terms of the contract, which was awarded as a nine-month base contract for approximately $20 million with nine one-year options, CAE USA will provide aircrew training services at 13 Air Force bases in the U.S. and internationally where more than 3,500 KC-135 pilots, co-pilots, and boom operators train annually.The KC-135 Aircrew Training System (ATS) program delivers initial qualification, requalification, continuation, and upgrade training. As part of the KC-135 ATS program, CAE USA will now be the prime contractor responsible for providing program management, academic, and flight simulator instruction, maintenance and logistics services, training device upgrades, relocation services, and a Training Systems Support Center. Currently, there are 19 KC-135 operational flight trainers (OFTs), two KC-135 boom operator part-task trainers, one KC-135 cargo load trainer, and a range of lower-level training devices that are used as part of the KC-135 ATS program.CAE USA will provide on-site aircrew training services at the following USAF bases: Altus Air Force Base (AFB), Okla., which is the formal training unit for the KC-135; McConnell AFB, Kan.; Scott AFB, Ill.; Fairchild AFB, Wash.; Grand Forks AFB, N.D.; Grissom Air Reserve Base (ARB), Ind.; MacDill AFB, Fla.; March ARB, Calif.; General Mitchell International Airport, Wis.; Pease Air National Guard Base (ANGB), N.H.; Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.; RAF Mildenhall, England; and Kadena Air Base, Japan. Under the KC-135 ATS contract, CAE USA will relocate the KC-135 training currently conducted at Grand Forks AFB to Hickam AFB, Hawaii.The KC-135 Stratotanker is the Air Force's primary aerial refuelling aircraft and first entered service in 1956. Originally designed and manufactured by the Boeing Company, the Air Force currently operates a fleet of more than 400 KC-135 aircraft. The Air Force is conducting a competition for a new tanker aircraft that will eventually replace older models in the fleet of KC-135 aircraft.