Approved for production

The KC-46A Pegasus program received Milestone C approval from Frank Kendall, the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, signaling the aircraft is ready to enter into production. Work is now underway to award the first two low-rate initial production lots within the next 30 days.

KC-46A Tanker completes aerial refueling required for Milestone C
KC-46A Tanker completes aerial refueling required for Milestone C

«I commend the team for diligently working through some difficult technical challenges», said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. «The KC-46 program has made significant strides in moving the Air Force toward the modernization needed in our strategic tanker fleet».

Securing approval to begin low-rate initial production required completion of several aerial refueling demonstrations, to include refueling an F-16 Fighting Falcon, C-17 Globemaster III and A-10 Thunderbolt II off the boom, and an AV-8 Harrier II and F/A-18 Hornet off both hose and drogue systems. The KC-46 Pegasus also proved its receiver capability by taking fuel from a KC-10 Extender.

Some demonstrations were delayed due to higher than expected axial loads in the boom. Boeing installed hydraulic pressure relief valves to alleviate loads and last month all remaining demonstrations were quickly completed.

«The KC-46 is ready to take the next step», said Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein. «Our Air Force and Boeing team stepped up to meet the recent challenges. I’m especially proud of the employees on the floor of the Boeing plant and employees of all our industry partners, who work every day to deliver game-changing capability to the warfighter. My hat’s off to them and our program leads».

The Air Force will soon award contracts to Boeing for two lots, totaling 19 aircraft, and associated spare parts for a pre-negotiated $2.8 billion combined value.

The first aircraft deliveries will be to McConnell Air Force Base (AFB), Kansas, and Altus AFB, Oklahoma. A total of 18 tankers are scheduled to be delivered by early 2018.

«I am exceedingly proud of the KC-46 program office for clearing the production hurdle», said Darlene Costello, an Air Force Service Acquisition executive. «We have crossed an important milestone, and I appreciate Boeing’s continued focus as they work to finish development prior to first aircraft delivery».

Going forward in the test program, the KC-46 Pegasus will complete a robust schedule of Federal Aviation Administration and military certification flight testing, including refueling test flights, in order to achieve certification for aircraft in the U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense inventory.

15-inch (38.1 centimeter) 787-style advanced electronic displays
15-inch (38.1 centimeter) 787-style advanced electronic displays

 

General Characteristics

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

The KC-46A Pegasus is a widebody, multirole tanker that can refuel all U.S., allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures

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