WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Spirit AeroSystems, based in Wichita, announced some work for its Tulsa facility. Boeing has hired Spirit to provide new horizontal stabilizers for the KC-135R Stratotankers. The contract is for an initial 34 horizontal stabilizer kits.

Spirit says it will support extending the life of the KC-135R through at least 2040.

The U.S. Air Force has been using the KC-135 series of aircraft for 65 years. The plane continues to provide the core aerial refueling capability for the Air Force, as well as providing aerial refueling for the Navy, Marine Corps and allied nation aircraft.

“We are very pleased Boeing selected Spirit to produce horizontal stabilizers for the KC-135 Stratotanker, taking advantage of our decades of experience building aerostructures,” Eric Hein, vice president of Spirit’s Advanced Development and Space Programs, said in a news release. “Extending the life of the KC-135 to support the aerial refueling needs of the Air Force is a perfect use of Spirit’s capabilities and capacity.”

“Spirit AeroSystems is committed to growing in defense and space and supporting the needs of the warfighter. The KC-135 Horizontal Stabilizer replacement program aligns with that commitment,” Jarrod Bartlett, director of Spirit Business Development for Defense and Space, said. “We are on a path to diversify Spirit’s business and grow our defense-related portfolio to 40% of the business as quickly as possible.”

Spirit says it is also helping Boeing extend the life of the B-52 Stratofortress. Spirit provides engine pylons and nacelles for the initial phase of the B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program (CERP). The total CERP effort is expected to replace 608 engines on the U.S. Air Force fleet of B-52H models. Spirit will support extending the life of the B-52 Stratofortress through at least 2050. The B-52 first entered the U.S. Air Force fleet in 1955.