Flight Test Program

Boeing now has six aircraft in its KC-46 Pegasus tanker test program, expanding its ability to complete ground and flight-test activities as it progresses toward first deliveries to the U.S. Air Force.

Newest aircraft is third for testing in full KC-46 Pegasus configuration
Newest aircraft is third for testing in full KC-46 Pegasus configuration

The newest KC-46 Pegasus aerial refueling aircraft, the second low-rate initial production plane, completed its first flight April 29. Its test activities will help ensure the KC-46 Pegasus can safely operate through electromagnetic fields produced by radars, radio towers and other systems.

«Adding another tanker will help us to become even more efficient and significantly improve our ability to complete test points going forward», said Jeanette Croppi, Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker test team director. «We are also re-configuring one of our 767-2C aircraft into a tanker, which means we soon will have four KC-46 Pegasus tankers in test».

«This first flight is another important step for the KC-46 Pegasus program toward verifying the aircraft’s operational capabilities», said Colonel John Newberry, Air Force KC-46 System program manager. «Adding this aircraft brings key capabilities to the test fleet and helps move us closer to delivering operational aircraft to the warfighter».

To date, the program’s test aircraft have completed 1,600 flight hours and more than 1,200 «contacts» during refueling flights with General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II, Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II and McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender aircraft.

The KC-46 Pegasus is derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe. The company expects to build 179 tankers in its Everett factory.

The KC-46A Pegasus is a multirole tanker that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.


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


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