Boeing recently achieved a major certification milestone following a successful refueling flight between two KC-46 Pegasus tankers. The company’s tanker program has now completed its required Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) fuel on-load testing.
During the three-hour, forty-eight-minute flight, a KC-46 Pegasus successfully transferred 146,000 pounds/65,700 liters of fuel to a second KC-46 Pegasus, while achieving the maximum fuel off-load rate of 1,200 gallons/4,542 liters per minute. Both aircraft took off and landed at Boeing Field, south of Seattle.
For its Federal Aviation Administration STC testing, the KC-46 Pegasus demonstrated the ability to safely/effectively receive fuel from three other tankers – KC-46 Pegasus, KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-10 Extender aircraft. As part of the series of tests, KC-46 Pegasus tankers took on 540,600 pounds/243,270 liters of fuel and completed 68 contacts with refueling aircraft.
When in service, the KC-46 Pegasus will refuel U.S., allied and coalition military aircraft using its boom and hose and drogue systems, but also must be able to take on fuel to extend its operational range. The boom allows the tanker to transfer up to 1,200 gallons/4,542 liters of fuel per minute, while the hose and drogue systems, located on both the plane’s wing and centerline, enables the KC-46 Pegasus to refuel smaller aircraft with up to 400 gallons/1,514 liters of fuel per minute.
A combined Boeing/U.S. Air Force team is currently working to complete the overall STC testing, which encompasses the military systems that are installed on the commercial 767-2C to make it a tanker. To date, the program’s test aircraft have completed 2,700 flight hours and more than 2,500 contacts during refueling flights with F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, AV-8B Harrier II, C-17 Globemaster III, A-10 Thunderbolt II, KC-10 Extender and KC-46 Pegasus aircraft.
|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|