In addition to the three main DC-10 wing fuel tanks, the KC-10A has three large
fuel tanks under the cargo floor, one under the forward lower cargo compartment,
one in the center wing area and one under the rear compartment. Combined, the
capacity of the six tanks carry more than 356,000 pounds (160,200 kilograms) of
fuel - almost twice as much as the KC-135 Stratotanker.
Using either an advanced aerial refueling boom, or a hose and drogue centerline
refueling system, the KC-10A can refuel a wide variety of U.S. and allied
military aircraft within the same mission. The aircraft is equipped with
lighting for night operations.
The KC-10A's boom operator controls refueling operations through a digital,
fly-by wire system. Sitting in the rear of the aircraft, the operator can see
the receiver aircraft through a wide window.
During boom refueling operations, fuel is transferred to the receiver at a
maximum rate of 1,100 gallons (4,180 liters) per minute; the hose and drogue
refueling maximum rate is 470 gallons (1,786 liters) per minute. The Automatic
Load Alleviation System and Independent Disconnect System greatly enhances
safety and facilitates air refueling. The KC-10A can be air-refueled by a KC-135
or another KC-10A to increase its delivery range.
The large cargo-loading door can accept most tactical air forces' fighter unit
support equipment. Powered rollers and winches inside the cargo compartment
permit moving heavy loads. The cargo compartment can accommodate loads ranging
from 27 pallets to a mix of 17 pallets and 75 passengers.
The KC-10A's crew includes a pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer and boom operator.
On certain missions, additional seats and bunks can be added to accommodate
extra crew members.