KC-46 flight tests

The KC-46 Pegasus program completed all flight tests required for the Milestone C production decision July 15 by offloading 1,500 pounds/680 kg of fuel to an A-10 Thunderbolt II.

A KC-46 Pegasus refuels an A-10 Thunderbolt II with 1,500 pounds/680 kg of fuel July 15, 2016 (Boeing photo/John D. Parker)
A KC-46 Pegasus refuels an A-10 Thunderbolt II with 1,500 pounds/680 kg of fuel July 15, 2016 (Boeing photo/John D. Parker)

The successful A-10 mission was the last of six in-flight refueling demonstrations required before the tanker program can request approval from Frank Kendall, the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, to award production Lots 1 and 2, totaling 19 Boeing KC-46A aircraft.

«It is great to see the KC-46 boom back in action and the program moving forward to a production decision», said Colonel John Newberry, the KC-46 system program manager.

The other five required air refueling demonstrations were with the C-17 Globemaster III and F-16 Fighting Falcon using the air refueling boom, the Navy’s F-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier II using the centerline and wing drogue systems, and the KC-46 as a receiver aircraft.

«Today’s flight marks the final step we needed to see on the boom fix in order to request production go-ahead», said Brigadier General Duke Richardson, the Air Force program executive officer for tankers. «Our joint team’s tireless efforts are paying off, preparing us for the next step of this critical need to our warfighter».

This test would not have been possible without contributions from the 412th Test Wing, 23rd Fighter Wing, 355th FW, 124th FW, 896th Test Support Squadron and 40th Flight Test Squadron, which all provided aircraft, manpower and equipment.

The Milestone C decision to begin Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) is expected in August.

The mission was the last of all flight tests required for the tanker’s Milestone C production decision (Boeing photo/John D. Parker)
The mission was the last of all flight tests required for the tanker’s Milestone C production decision (Boeing photo/John D. Parker)

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Aerial refueling and airlift
Prime Contractor The Boeing Company
Power Plant 2 × Pratt & Whitney 4062
Thrust 62,000 lbs/275.8 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

 

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