KC-10A Extender

This is part of the museum's First, Last, and Only aircraft—View the others

Early in the 1970s it was evident the KC-135 Stratotanker had limited operational capabilities and was unable to maintain the demands of the U.S. Air Force. To augment its duties and procure a larger, long-range, general-purpose tanker, the KC-10 Extender was purchased in 1978 and entered service in 1981.

Although it retains 88% commonality with the DC-10, it has additional systems and equipment necessary for its Air Force mission. These additions include military grade avionics, an aerial refueling boom and hose and drogue system, a seated refueling operator station, refueling receptacle, and satellite communications.

The KC-10 was crucial in supporting global military operations. As with the KC-135, it allowed strategic aircraft to reach their destination without stopping. Long-range deployment of tactical fighters was simultaneously provided in-flight refueling and cargo airlift. When needed, it could reconfigure into an aeromedevac role to transport litter patients.

The museum’s KC-10 was the first built and was a prototype for the fleet of sixty. In April 1978 it concluded a 184-hour test which included 1,398 hookups with six aircraft: C-5A, F-4, NKC-135, A-10, TF-15, and a B-52.


KC-10A Extender 79-0433 Arriving, April 22, 2022

Serial Number: 79-0433
McDonnel Douglas
First Flight:
12 July 1980
Still in service
Crew: Pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, and boom operator (loadmaster); aeromedical evacuation missions adds two flight nurses and three medical techs
Payload: 56,154 gal (356,000 lb) of transferable fuel; 170,000 lb of cargo or up to 75 passengers
Powerplant: Three 52,500-lb-thrust General Electric CF6-50C2 turbofan engines
181 ft 7 in
165 ft 4 1/2 in
58 ft 1 in
Empty Weight:
241,027 lb
Loaded Weight:
590,000 lb
Maximum Speed:
619 mph
Cruise Speed:
Range: 11,500 mi. maximum
Service Ceiling: 42,000 ft
AMC Museum Restoration Crew Chief:

Assignment History

The assignment history for the Air Mobility Command Museum's KC-10A Extender, serial number 79-0433:

Date Location
22 Sep 1981 Accepted by the United States Air Force
Oct 1981 to 4200th Test Squadron, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana (SAC)
Dec 1981 to 2d Bombardment Wing [H], Barksdale AFB, Louisiana (SAC)
1992 to 4580th Operational Support Group, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana (AMC)
1994 to 438th Airlift Wing, McGuire AFB, New Jersey
1995 to 305th Air Mobility Wing, McGuire AFB, New Jersey
28 Apr 2022 Retired to Air Mobility Command Museum, Dover AFB, Delaware
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