Boeing KC-46 Pegasus aircraft are now expected to arrive at their first basing locations by late summer or early fall 2017. The Boeing KC-46 Pegasus was most recently scheduled for a spring 2017 arrival at Altus Air Force Base (AFB), Oklahoma, the first formal training unit location; and McConnell AFB, Kansas, the first active duty-led KC-46 Pegasus main operating base. But after a schedule risk assessment, Air Force officials determined the fielding timeline needed to be extended.
Brigadier General Duke Richardson, the program executive officer for tankers, said, «Technical challenges with boom design and issues with certification of the centerline drogue system and wing air refueling pods have driven delays to low rate production approval and initial aircraft deliveries. Throughout KC-46 development, the Air Force remained cautiously optimistic that Boeing would quickly address these issues and meet the original goal», he continued. «However, we understand that no major procurement program is without challenges and the Air Force remains committed to ensuring all aircraft are delivered as technically required».
The multi-year tanker procurement program remains one of the service’s top priorities and the U.S. Air Force will continue to work with Boeing to find ways to mitigate delays.
«The Air Force considers the KC-46 a critical capability and it’s important to take the time necessary to get it right», Richardson said. «There is no increased cost to the government as a result of these changes».
Boeing continues to work on a solution to address the higher than expected boom axial loads recorded during C-17 Globemaster III air refueling demonstration flights.
The government now expects to make a low rate initial production decision, known as a Milestone C, in August 2016 to allow Boeing additional time to fix the loads issue and accomplish the remaining aerial refueling demonstrations with the required C-17 and A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. Following a successful decision, the U.S. Air Force will immediately award a contract for the first two production lots, followed by Lot 3 in January 2017.
The Boeing KC-46 Pegasus will provide improved capabilities, including boom and drogue refueling on the same sortie, worldwide navigation and communication, cargo capacity on the entire main deck floor, receiver air refueling, improved force protection and survivability, and multi-point air refueling capability.
At this time, aircraft deliveries to Pease Air National Guard Base, New Hampshire, remain unchanged at spring 2018.
|Primary Function||Aerial refueling and airlift|
|Prime Contractor||The Boeing Company|
|Power Plant||2 × Pratt & Whitney 4062|
|Thrust||62,000 lbs/275.790 kN/28,123 kgf – Thrust per High-Bypass engine (sea-level standard day)|
|Wingspan||157 feet, 8 inches/48.1 m|
|Length||165 feet, 6 inches/50.5 m|
|Height||52 feet, 10 inches/15.9 m|
|Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW)||415,000 lbs/188,240 kg|
|Maximum Landing Weight||310,000 lbs/140,614 kg|
|Fuel Capacity||212,299 lbs/96,297 kg|
|Maximum Transfer Fuel Load||207,672 lbs/94,198 kg|
|Maximum Cargo Capacity||65,000 lbs/29,484 kg|
|Maximum Airspeed||360 KCAS (Knots Calibrated AirSpeed)/0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h|
|Service Ceiling||43,100 feet/13,137 m|
|Maximum Distance||7,299 NM/8,400 miles/13,518 km|
|Pallet Positions||18 pallet positions|
|Air Crew||15 permanent seats for aircrew, including aeromedical evacuation aircrew|
|Passengers||58 total (normal operations); up to 114 total (contingency operations)|
|Aeromedical Evacuation||58 patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory) with the AE Patient Support Pallet configuration; 6 integral litters carried as part of normal aircraft configuration equipment|