The McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender is the military version of the three-engined DC-10 airliner for the United States Air Force (USAF). The KC-10 incorporates military-specific equipment for its primary roles of transport and aerial refueling. It was developed to supplement the KC-135 Stratotanker following experiences in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The KC-10 was the second McDonnell Douglas transport aircraft to be selected by the Air Force following the C-9. A total of 60 KC-10s were produced for the USAF. Two similar tankers were sold to the Royal Netherlands Air Force under the designation KDC-10.
The KC-10 plays a key role in the mobilization of US military assets, taking part in overseas operations far from home. These aircraft participated in the 1986 bombing of Libya and 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, and more recently, Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and Noble Eagle. However, the KC-10 was most notable for its participation in the Gulf War, where it was central to the airlift and aerial refueling effort. The aircraft is expected to serve until 2043.
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“If you want to know about a man you can find out an awful lot by looking at who he married.”
—Kirk Douglas (b. 1916)