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USAF accepts first Boeing KC-46A aerial refueling tanker

U.S. Air Force has accepted the first Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft, setting the stage for the aircraft’s delivery to McConnell Air Force Base, in Wichita, Kan., in the coming weeks.

“The KC-46A is a proven, safe, multi-…

U.S. Air Force has accepted the first Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft, setting the stage for the aircraft’s delivery to McConnell Air Force Base, in Wichita, Kan., in the coming weeks.

“The KC-46A is a proven, safe, multi-mission aircraft that will transform aerial refueling and mobility operations for decades to come. We look forward to working with the Air Force, and the Navy, during their initial operational test and evaluation of the KC-46, as we further demonstrate the operational capabilities of this next-generation aircraft across refueling, mobility and combat weapons systems missions,” said Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “I want to thank the men and women of the Air Force and across the Boeing tanker team who made this happen.”




During extensive flight testing, six KC-46 completed more than 3,800 flight hours and offloaded more than four million pounds of fuel to A-10, B-52, C-17, KC-10, KC-135, KC-46, F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft. The Pegasus has been rigorously tested throughout all aspects of the refueling envelope and in all conditions, including dcay, night and covert.

U.S. Air Force said Boeing has agreed to fix at its expense, deficiencies discovered in developmental testing of the remote vision sy1stem. The Air Force has mechanisms in place to ensure Boeing meets its contractual obligations while initial operational testing and evaluation continues.

The Rockwell Collins developed Remote Vision System (RVS) allows crew members to accurately view the physical fuel boom and refueling status data, will include cutting- edge sensors, a graphics subsystem and stereoscopic 3D displays to allow the operator to control the aerial refueling boom.

With the signing of what’s known as the DD250 paperwork, the delivery activities can proceed. McConnell Air Force Base will receive the first four KC-46 aircraft, all of which are ready for delivery, with four subsequent aircraft destined for Oklahoma’s Altus Air Force Base, beginning as early as next month.


The KC-46 is equipped with a boom and three hose and drogue aerial refueling systems. The boom allows the tanker to transfer up to 1,200 gallons of fuel per minute, while the plane’s hose and drogue systems, located on both the plane’s wing and centerline, enables the KC-46 to refuel smaller aircraft such as the F/A-18 with up to 400 gallons of fuel per minute.

With a maximum take off weight of 415,000 lbs (188,241 kg), the KC-46A can carry a maximum fuel load of 212,299 lbs (96,265 kg) and is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW 4062 turbofan engines rated at 62,000 lbf (289.13 kN) thrust each.

Boeing is on contract for 52 of an expected 179 tankers for the Air Force. Beyond the first aircraft that was accepted today, nine aircraft are undergoing customer acceptance testing with the remaining aircraft of the contracted amount in production.

The KC-46, derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, is built in Boeing’s Everett, Wash., facility.

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