LMXT By Lockheed Martin: America's Next Strategic Tanker


Offered in response to the Air Force’s KC-Y Program, the LMXT offers impressive capabilities and proven track-record.

“Aerial refueling will be the biggest shortfall in our Mobility Air Forces.”

Then U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson put forth this blunt assessment in her landmark speech, “The Air Force We Need,” during her 2018 Air Force Association keynote address. Time has confirmed her assessment and further underscores this tanking shortfall may even determine who wins the next war.

A majority of today’s strategic tanker fleet is rapidly reaching retirement age, yet modernization efforts are not closing the widening gap in America’s strategic tanker capability — a shortfall that will undermine any future fight in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

The solution is a new tanker offered to the U.S. Air Force that not only shrinks this formidable gap, but offers a mission-ready and proven tanker designed to specifically support America in the high-end Pacific fight that the Pentagon is preparing for today.

This tanker is a critical option in supporting the Air Force in its commitment to project rapid global mobility in today’s strategically competitive global environment.

Introducing Lockheed Martin’s LMXT … America’s next strategic tanker.

Built in America. By Americans. For Americans.

Lockheed Martin is offering the LMXT as its response to the Air Force’s KC-Y Strategic Tanker Program. The KC-Y Program bridges the gap between the Air Force’s present-day strategic tanker fleet and the next Advanced Air Refueling Tanker recapitalization referred to as “K-Z.”

The LMXT represents the most advanced strategic tanker available to the U.S. Air Force as well as the newest tanker produced by Lockheed Martin, which has designed, produced and maintained tankers for the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy and global operators for more than 60 years.

“Lockheed Martin’s LMXT is ready to serve the U.S. Air Force today,” said Tony Frese, vice president of Business Development for the Air Mobility & Maritime Missions line of business at Lockheed Martin. “We have listened to Air Force operators to gain insight on delivering a tanker that not only meets present-day needs, but has the flexibility to adapt to future mission requirements. The result is the LMXT, which is specifically tailored for the U.S. Air Force.”

The LMXT is a tanker built in America by Americans for Americans. Drawing on an established U.S. supplier base, the LMXT will be produced and modified in the United States, creating a critical source of highly skilled, sustainable, technically advanced jobs for the American aerospace workforce.

“It is important to strengthen the U.S. aerospace industry through direct employment, industry partnerships and our essential supplier base,” Frese said. “The LMXT offers American workers and our aerospace partners the chance to not only build history, but make history as well. The LMXT will serve generations of American Airmen, supporting countless Air Force crews in meeting evolving mission requirements.”

Proven and Ready Now

From day one, the LMXT will be capable of accomplishing the full range of missions demanded of air refueling aircraft, building on the Airbus A330’s Multi Role Tanker Transport’s (MRTT) proven combat record in both boom and hose-and-drogue refueling operations.

As the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin works directly to implement U.S. Air Force-specific requirements within the LMXT. As the strategic tanker of choice for 13 nations, the MRTT has logged more than 250,000 flight hours refueling U.S. and allied fighter, transport and maritime patrol aircraft in the combat theater environment.

Current receiver air refueling certifications for the LMXT airframe include: F-35A, F-22, F-16, A-10, B1-B, C-17, E-3, E-7, F-15, P-8A.

Additional features of the LMXT that clearly differentiate it from other tankers include:

  • Significantly improved range and fuel offload capacity
  • A proven fly-by-wire boom currently certified and used by allies to refuel U.S. Air Force receiver aircraft in operations around the world
  • The world’s first fully automatic boom/air-to-air refueling (A3R) system
  • Operational and combat proven advanced camera and vision system

“With its established DNA of proven performance, the LMXT is a low-risk solution for the Air Force,” Frese said. “The LMXT offers confirmed capabilities. There is no speculation or ‘what ifs’ with the LMXT. When we say it’s ready, we mean it’s ready. Ready for service, ready for missions — ready for today and ready for tomorrow.”

The LMXT features the world’s first fully automatic air-to-air refueling (A3R) system using a proven fly-by-wire boom currently certified and used by allies to refuel U.S. Air Force receiver aircraft in operations around the world. 


In the dynamic global defense environment, the LMXT provides state-of-the-art features designed for future tanker-related requirements, reflected specifically in its:

  • Open-system architecture JADC2 systems
  • Multi-domain operations node connecting the LMXT to the larger battlespace, increasing onboard situational awareness to provide resilient communications and datalink for assets across the force
  • Space flexibility and availability to support future requirements and needs such as medevac and cargo missions

“A chief concern in designing the LMXT was to provide a solution that had the space and ability to truly function as a multi-mission asset. From listening to our Air Force partners, we know that multi-mission is a wide-ranging concept,” Frese said. “The LMXT reflects an adaptability both in its physical structure and its technological core to ensure mission relevancy for decades to come.”

In the high-end fight in the Indo-Pacific and other critical global regions where range, off-load capacity, and time-on-station are mission-critical attributes, the LMXT is the only choice.