Category Archives: Air Force

Full operational
capability

The Department of the U.S. Navy recently declared the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C-1 ready for full operational capability.

JSOW C-1 achieves full operational capability
JSOW C-1 achieves full operational capability

All U.S. squadrons are now outfitted with JSOW C-1, the U.S. Navy’s first air-to-ground network-enabled weapon capable of attacking stationary land and moving maritime targets.

«Formal declaration of full operational capability for JSOW C-1 is the final step in a phased approach to introducing this weapon and its capabilities to the fleet», said Commander Sam Messer, JSOW deputy program manager. «It is the culmination of a complete team effort to deliver not only the hardware, but the training, tactics development and support infrastructure to ensure we field a meaningful warfighting capability».

JSOW C-1 reached initial operational capability in 2016. The program then began a series of four fleet-wide exercises that demonstrated the capabilities of the weapon in increasingly complex scenarios.

The road to full operational capability began with RIMPAC 2016 where the JSOW training team executed a virtual network-enabled weapon mission during the harbor phase. The two-day training mission culminated in the loading of Super Hornet mission cards with the appropriate keys and JSOW files for Carrier Air Wing Nine (CVW-9) to fly a JSOW C-1 mission.

A month later, using real-time lessons learned from RIMPAC, CVW-5 executed the first operational shots of live JSOW C-1’s during the Valiant Shield 2016 SINKEX, resulting in high-order impacts and sinking of the former USS Rentz (FFG-46), Oliver Hazard Perry-class of guided missile frigate.

This event included multiple firsts for JSOW including the first ever operational employment of an air-launched network-enabled weapon and receipt of targeting data from the Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS).

In support of the SINKEX, the JSOW team delivered four Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs) to CVW-5 in Atsugi, Japan ahead of schedule. Naval Air Facility Atsugi was the first fleet location to receive the JSOW C-1 CATM.

Next, JSOW C-1 engaged in Northern Edge 2017, a contingency exercise that prepares joint U.S. forces to respond to crises in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. During this joint forces exercise, at the Gulf of Alaska and around central Alaska, approximately 6,000 military members gather to take on the most challenging scenarios in the Pacific theater.

Northern Edge 17 facilitated network-enabled weapon kill-chain Concept of Operations (CONOPS) development at all threat levels, including the contribution of off-board joint participants in tactical scenarios.

The JSOW training team also delivered CATM training to Top Gun and the Naval Air Warfare Development Center at Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon, Nevada, and CVW-9 at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, in preparation for the exercise.

Following Northern Edge, the JSOW team embarked aboard the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) in support of coalition network-enabled weapon operations during exercise Talisman Sabre 2017. The biennial combined Australian and United States event is designed to train military forces in planning and conducting combined task force operations to improve the combat readiness and interoperability between the two militaries.

Twelve maritime strike exercise events were conducted employing embedded Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Super Hornets with JSOW C-1 CATMs alongside their U.S. Navy counterparts. RAAF Super Hornets carried JSOW C-1 free-flight vehicles, while U.S. Navy Super Hornets were outfitted with JSOW C-1 CATMs.

This latest JSOW variant includes GPS/Inertial Navigation System (INS) guidance, terminal InfraRed (IR) seeker and a Link 16 weapon data link.

AGM-154A Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW)
AGM-154A Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW)

National security

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 on October 15 at 3:28 a.m. EDT. Designated NROL-52, the mission is in support of national security.

An Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 with the National Reconnaissance Office's NROL-52 payload (United Launch Alliance/Jeff Spotts)
An Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 with the National Reconnaissance Office’s NROL-52 payload (United Launch Alliance/Jeff Spotts)

«Today’s launch is a testament to the tireless dedication of the ULA team, demonstrating why ULA continues to serve as our nation’s most dependable and successful launch provider», said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Government Satellite Launch. «After recovering from Hurricane Irma that came through the area last month, and the last week’s weather challenges, the team found the right opportunity today to deliver this critical national asset to orbit».

This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 421 configuration vehicle, which includes a 4-meter/13-foot PayLoad Fairing (PLF) and two solid rocket boosters. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 engine.

This is ULA’s 7th launch in 2017 and the 122nd successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

«I want to thank the entire ULA team and our mission partners at the NRO and U.S. Air Force (USAF) who made this, our 26th NRO launch, successful», said Maginnis.

The EELV program was established by the USAF to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the legacy launch systems.

ULA’s next launch is the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 for NASA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The launch is scheduled for November 10 at 1:47 a.m. PST from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 120 satellites to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field and enable personal device-based GPS navigation.

Atlas V NROL-52 Launch Highlights

 

A 4-meter diameter payload fairing, with the National Reconnaissance Office's NROL-52 mission encapsulated inside, is mated to an Atlas V rocket at the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex-41
A 4-meter diameter payload fairing, with the National Reconnaissance Office’s NROL-52 mission encapsulated inside, is mated to an Atlas V rocket at the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex-41

Final Airseeker

L3 Technologies announced on September 28 that it has successfully delivered the third and final RC-135V/W Rivet Joint (RJ) signals intelligence aircraft to Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF), a milestone marking the completion of the historic U.S. Air Force (USAF) and U.K. Ministry of Defence (MOD) Airseeker program.

L3 Successfully Delivers Final Airseeker to U.K. Royal Air Force
L3 Successfully Delivers Final Airseeker to U.K. Royal Air Force

The three U.K. RJ aircraft form the backbone of the U.K.’s Airseeker capability, providing new and collaborative Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) resources in support of global security missions. Upon touchdown at Royal Air Force Waddington, Lincolnshire, U.K., the aircraft was formally transferred to the RAF, completing the hardware deliveries under the Foreign Military Sales contract valued at approximately $1 billion.

Taken together, the U.K. RJ and USAF RJ aircraft form a combined fleet of 20 aircraft, and L3 will perform future baseline upgrades and periodic depot maintenance on the fleet. L3 has also delivered a station to support ground operations and training systems to train both operators and maintainers.

«This groundbreaking agreement gives the U.K. access to future innovative technology and presents a very high level of interoperability with major coalition partners», said Christopher E. Kubasik, L3’s President and Chief Operating Officer. «This partnership has provided our U.K. allies with an intelligence-gathering platform that supports near-real-time on-scene collection, analysis and dissemination capabilities».

«Analysts have hailed this U.K./U.S. program as the highest level of intelligence cooperation between the two countries since World War II», said Mark Von Schwarz, L3’s Senior Vice President and President of its Aerospace Systems business segment. «The U.S. and the U.K. will be closely involved in future maturation of the Rivet Joint weapon system for at least the next 25 years».

Under the agreement, the U.K. purchased three Rivet Joint aircraft for conversion by L3 from KC-135R tankers to the RC-135W configuration. The first two aircraft were delivered in 2013 and 2015, respectively, and upon gaining their airworthiness releases.

«The cooperation between L3, the USAF and the U.K. MOD throughout the Airseeker program has been the key to delivering aircraft early and fielding the capability ahead of the original schedule», said Bill Chrispin, the U.K. MOD’s Airseeker Delivery Manager.

Headquartered in New York City, L3 Technologies employs approximately 38,000 people worldwide and is a leading provider of a broad range of communication, electronic and sensor systems used on military, homeland security and commercial platforms. L3 is also a prime contractor in aerospace systems, security and detection systems, and pilot training. The company reported 2016 sales of $10.5 billion.

Adaptable aircraft

Within the next few decades, armed forces could be using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with adaptable aircraft technologies that alternate between fixed-wing flight and rotary-wing flight.

Engineers unveil futuristic unmanned aircraft concept that uses both fixed and rotary wing flight
Engineers unveil futuristic unmanned aircraft concept that uses both fixed and rotary wing flight

Engineers from BAE Systems together with students from Cranfield University, have revealed a new technology concept – named Adaptable UAVs – which can alternate between the two different flight modes in the same mission. When in rotary wing mode the UAVs can be launched and recovered from battlefields and docked on a special pole.

The Adaptable UAVs are a hybrid between fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, and would use adaptive flight control and advanced navigation and guidance software, which would allow the aircraft to benefit from the greater speed and range afforded to fixed-wing aircraft, before alternating to rotary-wing mode to hover and achieve vertical take-off and landing. This novel technology could allow UAVs to better adapt to evolving future battlefield situations and through working together in a swarm, tackle sophisticated air defences, as well as operating in complex and cluttered urban environments.

In the rotary wing mode of flight, the Adaptable UAVs can be easily and safely launched and recovered using a range of vehicles in dangerous environments that might be cluttered by personnel, other aircraft or vehicles. The pole constrains the lateral or sideways movement of the UAV when being launched or recovered so strong winds cannot dislodge them and avoids any damage to personnel nearby. This is particularly important when recovering a UAV to the aft of a ship or a land vehicle. The pole’s gyro-stabilised element also ensures that it remains upright independently of the host vehicle’s orientation, which may be rolling if on a ship, or in the case of a land vehicle driving up or down a slope at the time of the launch or recovery.

«The battlefield of the future will require novel solutions to meet emerging threats and to keep human operators safe wherever they may be’», said Professor Nick Colosimo, BAE Systems’ Futurist and Technologist. «The Adaptable UAVs concept and related technologies are one of a number of concepts being explored through close collaboration between industry and students in academia».

Professor Antonios Tsourdos, Head of the Centre for Autonomous and Cyber-Physical Systems at Cranfield University, said: «Working with BAE Systems on the Cranfield University MSc in Autonomous Vehicle Dynamics & Control has provided a great opportunity for the students and research staff to explore a range of novel concepts and technologies».

Cranfield University is one of BAE Systems Strategic University Partners. Research staff and students have explored a range of UAV technologies including research into adaptive flight control and advanced navigation and guidance software.

BAE Systems has developed some of the world’s most innovative technologies and invests in research and development to generate future products and capabilities. The Company has a portfolio of patents and patent applications covering approximately 2000 inventions internationally.

Situational awareness

The 1st Space Operations Squadron (1 SOPS) at Schriever Air Force Base (AFB), Colorado, accepted two new satellites into operation September 12 to expand their Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program’s (GSSAP) ability to characterize and track objects in space to support a neighborhood watch out in orbit.

GSSAP artist rendering
GSSAP artist rendering

GSSAP provides enhanced space-based space situational awareness to improve the ability to rapidly detect, warn, characterize and attribute disturbances to space systems in the geosynchronous environment. This assists in the protection of the assets in space that affect many facets of daily life such as navigation and communication. GSSAP supports U.S. Strategic Command’s ability to collect data on man-made orbiting objects.

GSSAP became operational in September 2015, when the first two GSSAP satellites reached their Initial Operational Capability. The two newest satellites to the program, GSSAP 3 and 4, were launched into orbit August 19, 2016, and have now finished their testing phase.

«GSSAP 3 and 4 will significantly enhance our ability to characterize objects on geosynchronous orbit», said General Jay Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command. «This provides the awareness we need to successfully operate in space».

This addition to GSSAP is vital to expand 1 SOPS’s space-based space situational awareness mission. It not only provides a significant improvement in space object characterization, but also in detecting threats. Because of its near-geosynchronous orbit, it has a clear and distinct vantage point to avoid the weather interruptions that can limit ground-based space surveillance systems.

The GSSAP satellite system can characterize objects in space to a very refined level. Being able to discriminate and characterize objects assists the U.S. and its allies in achieving responsible and safe use of space. The information obtained by this program provides robust spaceflight safety information and ensures free access to, and use of, space.

As space continues to become more congested and contested, GSSAP and other space situational awareness programs are paramount in deterring aggressive action in space. GSSAP continues to enable safe operations and protects U.S. and allied spacecraft by providing timely and accurate situational awareness. Ultimately, GSSAP and 1 SOPS enable a range of decisive responses that will render any counter-space threats ineffective.

First flight
with weapon system

At the end of August, the H145M performed its first flight with a complete HForce weapon system in Donauwörth. Thanks to this modular weapon system designed by Airbus, the H145M can be equipped with all kind of guided and ballistic armaments such as missiles and laser guided rockets, guns, machine guns and rockets. The qualification of HForce for use on the H145M is planned for 2018.

H145M completes first flight with HForce weapon system
H145M completes first flight with HForce weapon system

«The next steps prior to qualification include a firing campaign, testing the whole fire mission spectrum through guns, cannons and rockets in Hungary as well as tests on the laser-guided rockets in Sweden before the end of the year», said Jean-Luc André, HForce Program Manager at Airbus Helicopters. «As the launch customer for the H145M with the HForce weapon system, the Republic of Serbia has ordered nine H145M aircraft, including four attack helicopters equipped with HForce», he added.

HForce is a comprehensive, modular and cost-efficient weapon system that can be used on any military version of Airbus’ civil helicopter range (H125M, H145M and H225M). The flexible weapon management system enables armies around the world to complement their fleets with specialised versions of light attack helicopters.

The H145M is the military version of the tried-and-tested, twin-engine H145 civil helicopter that was first delivered in 2014. The entire H145 fleet has now clocked up more than 60,000 flight hours. With a maximum take-off weight of 3.7 tonnes/8,157 lbs, the agile light attack H145M, which perfectly matches the needs of Special Forces, can be used for a wide range of tasks, including armed reconnaissance, ground fire support, escort, tactical transport, MEDEVAC and CASEVAC. Customers for the H145M include the German Armed Forces – which in June received their 15th H145M LUH SOF helicopter on time and on budget – as well as the Republic of Serbia and the Kingdom of Thailand.

 

Characteristics

DIMENSIONS
Length (rotor rotating) 44.72 feet/13.63 m
Fuselage length 38.35 feet/11.69 m
Height 13.12 feet/4 m
Main rotor diameter 36.09 feet/11 m
Width (blades folded) 8.89 feet/2.71 m
CAPABILITIES
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 8,157 lbs/3,700 kg
Useful Load 3,900 lbs/1,769 kg
Sling load 3,307 lbs/1,500 kg
Maximum seating 1/2 pilots + 10/9 troops
ENGINE
2 × Turbomeca ARRIEL 2E turboshaft engines
Maximum Continuous Power (MCP) 2×771 shp/2×575 kW
Take-Off Power (TOP) 2×894 shp/2×667 kW
2 min One Engine Inoperative (OEI) 1×1,038 shp/1×775 kW
30 sec OEI-power 1×1,072 shp/1×800 kW
PERFORMANCE AT MTOW
Speed (Vne – never exceed speed) 135 knots/155 mph/250 km/h
Fast Cruise speed (Vh – maximum speed) 132 knots/152 mph/244 km/h
Maximum range 357 NM/411 miles/662 km
Hover ceiling OGE (TOP), ISA 8,858 feet/2,700 m

 

PC-21 first flight

In a recent ceremony that marked a significant milestone for the AIR 5428 Pilot Training System, Lockheed Martin celebrated the Chief of Air Force first flight of the in-service PC-21 aircraft.

Australia’s Chief of Air Force pilots a PC-21 aircraft taking his first PC-21 in-service flight in East Sale, Australia, to mark the significant milestone for the AIR 5428 Pilot Training System (Photo credit: Australia Department of Defence)
Australia’s Chief of Air Force pilots a PC-21 aircraft taking his first PC-21 in-service flight in East Sale, Australia, to mark the significant milestone for the AIR 5428 Pilot Training System (Photo credit: Australia Department of Defence)

The occasion was celebrated at a media event hosted by Australian Minister for Defence Senator the Hon Marise Payne, in East Sale, Australia. Also in attendance was the Hon Darren Chester MP, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, highlighting the significance of the program to the Australian Government.

Vince Di Pietro, chief executive for Lockheed Martin Australia attended the event along with AIR 5428 partners Pilatus Aircraft and Hawker Pacific.

«We are excited to celebrate this momentous occasion with the CAF and recognise this marks the beginning of training for Australia’s fifth-generation air capability», said Vince Di Pietro. «This milestone is a great achievement to all involved and we celebrate the Australian Defence Force’s first flight in service and acceptance of the first six of 49 PC-21 aircraft, as the mainstay trainer for Australia’s pilot training program for decades to come. Combining the PC-21 turboprop training aircraft with state-of-the-art training simulations and an electronic learning environment, Australia’s new Pilot Training System will prepare Australia’s next-generation pilots for mission success».

The AIR 5428 Pilot Training System is an integrated solution tailored for all future pilots of the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Army.

«Lockheed Martin Australia leads the delivery of integrated solutions for all future pilots of the Australian Defence Force», said Amy Gowder, vice president of Training and Logistics Solutions for Lockheed Martin’s Rotary and Mission Systems business. «This milestone is an important achievement, and confirms the Lockheed Martin-led team is on track to deliver a world-class pilot training solution to the Australian Defence Force».

Under the AIR 5428 contract, Lockheed Martin is providing overall project management for the pilot training system and delivering a family of integrated ground-based training technologies. Pilatus Aircraft is providing 49 PC-21 turboprop training aircraft and through-life engineering and airworthiness support, while Hawker Pacific is providing maintenance services and fleet support, and leveraging its established supply chain in Australia.

Signed in December 2015, the initial seven-year AIR 5428 Pilot Training System is valued at AU$1.2 billion, with performance-based options to extend the value and length of the contract for up to 25 years.

AFTRS-R terminals

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a contract to upgrade existing radio terminals aboard the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) fleet and replace them with Air Force Tactical Receive System-Ruggedized (AFTRS-R) terminals. AFTRS-R assures capability for the Joint STARS fleet and those interacting with the weapon system to receive intelligence reports, including threat warnings in hostile environments, ensuring undiminished battle management in support of warfighters in the air, on the ground and at sea.

Northrop Grumman to Integrate Air Force Tactical Receive System-Ruggedized on Joint STARS
Northrop Grumman to Integrate Air Force Tactical Receive System-Ruggedized on Joint STARS

AFTRS-R provides data feeds from airborne and overhead electronics intelligence collectors and allows Joint STARS to detect and track a host of mobile threats, including enemy air defense and theater ballistic missile assets. The AFTRS-R capability will modernize the Integrated Broadcast Service by replacing the current Commander’s Tactical Terminal/Hybrid-Receive Only (CTT/H-R) radio. The modification also addresses cryptographic modernization and diminishing manufacturing source (DMS) issues with the CTT/H-R radio.

«One of the benefits of our 32-year partnership with the United States Air Force on Joint STARS is that we have an in-depth understanding of the E-8C fleet and its mission in support of combatant commanders globally», said Bryan Lima, director, manned Command, Control & Intelligence plus Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C2ISR) programs, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. «The AFTRS-R modification is another demonstration of our joint commitment to fleet sustainment while providing uninterrupted mission support to the warfighter until the recapitalized fleet is fielded».

The AFTRS-R contract is a separate delivery order under the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity Joint STARS Systems Improvement Program (JSSIP) III contract awarded by the U.S. Air Force to Northrop Grumman in October 2013. Other modifications under JSSIP III to maintain 21st-century mission readiness include the Global Imagery Server, which allows for the display of worldwide imagery data on all Joint STARS operator work stations, and the Automatic Identification System that will provide Joint STARS with a permanent, integrated solution for maritime identification of participating vessels.

«Our mission is to ensure our combat commanders have the highest degree of situational awareness in the battlespace. Over the past 20 years, our government-industry team has successfully delivered on a variety of advanced, highly affordable capabilities to the fleet. The Global Imagery Server, Automatic Identification System and AFTRS-R are all great examples of how we will continue to ensure our troops remain well-ahead of the threats», said Colonel Raymond Wier, Program Manager, C2ISR, Battle Management, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, U.S. Air Force.

Joint STARS offers battlefield commanders real-time situational information, while simultaneously transmitting target locations to aircraft and ground strike forces. The fleet has been operating at surge levels since 2011 and has flown more than 130,000 combat hours since 9/11 supporting operations globally, including Operation Inherent Resolve over Iraq and Syria. Joint STARS is the only all-weather, long-range, real-time, wide area surveillance and battle management and command and control weapon system in the world.

Reliability of the ICBM

A team of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen from the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base (AFB), Wyoming, launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a single test reentry vehicle August 2, 2017 at 2:10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time from Vandenberg AFB, California.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ian Dudley)
An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ian Dudley)

While not a response to recent North Korean actions, the test demonstrated the U.S.’ nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, effective and ready to deter, detect and defend against attacks on the U.S. and its allies.

The ICBM’s reentry vehicle, which contained a telemetry package used for operational testing, traveled approximately 4,200 miles/6,759 km to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. These test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.

«This operational test launch highlights the commitment and outstanding professionalism of the 90th Missile Wing, the 576th Flight Test Squadron and our mission partners in the 30th Space Wing», said Colonel Dave Kelley, the 576th FLTS commander. «These test launches require the highest-degree of technical competence and commitment at every level and provide critical data necessary to validate the reliability, accuracy and performance of the ICBM force».

F.E. Warren AFB is one of three missile bases with crew members standing alert 24 hours a day, year-round, overseeing the nation’s ICBM alert forces.

«I am extremely proud of the operators and maintainers from the 90th Missile Wing. This task force worked flawlessly alongside the absolute professionals from the 576 Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) to make this mission a success», said Lieutenant Colonel Troy Stauter, the Glory Trip 223 Task Force commander. «Promoting the deterrence, assurance and strike capability of the Minuteman III could not be done without the dedication, professionalism and teamwork of the men and women of Air Force Global Strike Command».

The ICBM community, including the Department of Defense, Department of Energy and U.S. Strategic Command, uses data collected from test launches for continuing force development evaluation. The ICBM test launch program demonstrates the operational capability of the Minuteman III and ensures the U.S.’ ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent as a key element of U.S. national security and the security of U.S. allies and partners.

 

General characteristics

Primary function Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
Contractor Boeing Co.
Power plant Three solid-propellant rocket motors: first stage ATK refurbished M55A1; second stage ATK refurbished SR-19; third stage ATK refurbished SR-73
Technologies chemical systems division thrust first stage: 203,158 pounds/92,151 kg; second stage: 60,793 pounds/27,575 kg; third stage: 35,086 pounds/15,915 kg
Weight 79,432 pounds/36,030 kg
Diameter 5.5 feet/1.67 m
Range 5,218 NM/6,005 miles/9,664 km
Speed approximately Mach 23/15,000 mph/24,000 km/h at burnout
Ceiling 700 miles/1,120 km
Date deployed June 1970, production cessation: December 1978
Inventory 450

 

GT-223GM MMIII Media Release

Electromagnetic Testing

A Boeing-led team, including U.S. Air Force and Naval Air Systems Command representatives, recently completed KC-46 Pegasus tanker electromagnetic testing.

A Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker undergoes testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, on the base’s electromagnetic pulse pad. In order to evaluate its ability to operate safely through electromagnetic fields produced by radar, radio towers and other systems, the aircraft received a series of pulses from a large coil mounted overhead. The KC-46 is protected by technologies designed into the aircraft to negate any effects (Photo credit: NAVAIR photographer)
A Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker undergoes testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, on the base’s electromagnetic pulse pad. In order to evaluate its ability to operate safely through electromagnetic fields produced by radar, radio towers and other systems, the aircraft received a series of pulses from a large coil mounted overhead. The KC-46 is protected by technologies designed into the aircraft to negate any effects (Photo credit: NAVAIR photographer)

This testing evaluates the aircraft’s ability to safely operate through electromagnetic fields produced by radars, radio towers and other systems under mission conditions.

«The KC-46 tanker is protected by various hardening and shielding technologies designed into the aircraft to negate any effects on the aircraft», said Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46 vice president and program manager. «This successful effort retires one of the key risks on the program».

Testing was conducted on the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) and Naval Electromagnetic Radiation Facility pads and also in the Benefield Anechoic Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

During tests on the EMP pad at Patuxent River, the program’s second low-rate initial production KC-46 Pegasus received pulses from a large coil/transformer situated above the aircraft. The outdoor simulation was designed to test and evaluate the KC-46’s EMP protection while in flight.

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

Boeing is assembling KC-46 Pegasus aircraft at its Everett, Washington, facility.

 

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