Tag Archives: KC-46 Pegasus

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Tanker Schedule

Boeing KC-46 Pegasus aircraft are now expected to arrive at their first basing locations by late summer or early fall 2017. The Boeing KC-46 Pegasus was most recently scheduled for a spring 2017 arrival at Altus Air Force Base (AFB), Oklahoma, the first formal training unit location; and McConnell AFB, Kansas, the first active duty-led KC-46 Pegasus main operating base. But after a schedule risk assessment, Air Force officials determined the fielding timeline needed to be extended.

The U.S. Air Force is moving its formal production decision on the Boeing KC-46 tanker program – known as Milestone C – from June 2016 to August 2016 to allow additional time to implement the solution to a refueling boom loads issue identified during flight testing earlier this year
The U.S. Air Force is moving its formal production decision on the Boeing KC-46 tanker program – known as Milestone C – from June 2016 to August 2016 to allow additional time to implement the solution to a refueling boom loads issue identified during flight testing earlier this year

Brigadier General Duke Richardson, the program executive officer for tankers, said, «Technical challenges with boom design and issues with certification of the centerline drogue system and wing air refueling pods have driven delays to low rate production approval and initial aircraft deliveries. Throughout KC-46 development, the Air Force remained cautiously optimistic that Boeing would quickly address these issues and meet the original goal», he continued. «However, we understand that no major procurement program is without challenges and the Air Force remains committed to ensuring all aircraft are delivered as technically required».

The multi-year tanker procurement program remains one of the service’s top priorities and the U.S. Air Force will continue to work with Boeing to find ways to mitigate delays.

«The Air Force considers the KC-46 a critical capability and it’s important to take the time necessary to get it right», Richardson said. «There is no increased cost to the government as a result of these changes».

Boeing continues to work on a solution to address the higher than expected boom axial loads recorded during C-17 Globemaster III air refueling demonstration flights.

The government now expects to make a low rate initial production decision, known as a Milestone C, in August 2016 to allow Boeing additional time to fix the loads issue and accomplish the remaining aerial refueling demonstrations with the required C-17 and A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. Following a successful decision, the U.S. Air Force will immediately award a contract for the first two production lots, followed by Lot 3 in January 2017.

The Boeing KC-46 Pegasus will provide improved capabilities, including boom and drogue refueling on the same sortie, worldwide navigation and communication, cargo capacity on the entire main deck floor, receiver air refueling, improved force protection and survivability, and multi-point air refueling capability.

At this time, aircraft deliveries to Pease Air National Guard Base, New Hampshire, remain unchanged at spring 2018.

The KC-46A Pegasus deploys the centerline boom for the first time October 9, 2015. The boom is the fastest way to refuel aircraft at 1,200 gallons per minute (Boeing photo/John D. Parker)
The KC-46A Pegasus deploys the centerline boom for the first time October 9, 2015. The boom is the fastest way to refuel aircraft at 1,200 gallons per minute (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/275.790 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 Boeing-built KC-46A Pegasus tanker takes off on its first flight, from Paine Field, Everett, Washington to Boeing Field, Seattle. The KC-46A is a multirole tanker Boeing is building for the U.S. Air Force that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients (Boeing photo)
The Boeing-built KC-46A Pegasus tanker takes off on its first flight, from Paine Field, Everett, Washington to Boeing Field, Seattle. The KC-46A is a multirole tanker Boeing is building for the U.S. Air Force that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients (Boeing photo)

Maiden flight

The Boeing and U.S. Air Force team successfully completed the first flight of a KC-46A tanker aircraft on September 25, taking off from Paine Field at 1:24 p.m. (PST) and landing four hours later at Boeing Field in Seattle. This was the first flight of a KC-46A tanker-configured aircraft, following ongoing flights of the program’s first test aircraft, a 767-2C. During the flight, Boeing test pilots performed operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems and took the tanker to a maximum altitude of 35,000 feet/10,668 meter prior to landing.

The Boeing-built KC-46A Pegasus tanker takes off on its first flight, from Paine Field, Everett, Washington to Boeing Field, Seattle. The KC-46A is a multirole tanker Boeing is building for the U.S. Air Force that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients (Boeing photo)
The Boeing-built KC-46A Pegasus tanker takes off on its first flight, from Paine Field, Everett, Washington to Boeing Field, Seattle. The KC-46A is a multirole tanker Boeing is building for the U.S. Air Force that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients (Boeing photo)

«This first tanker flight is a key milestone for the program and we’ll now begin free air stability tests and flight controls of the boom and Wing Aerial Refueling Pods (WARPs) before conducting aerial refueling tests where the KC-46 will make contact with other military aircraft down the road», said Colonel Christopher Coombs, U.S. Air Force KC-46 Pegasus System program manager.

«Today’s flight reinforces that we are moving in the right direction and are on track to begin planned Milestone C testing later this year», said Tim Peters, Boeing KC-46 Pegasus tanker vice president and program manager. «This is an aerospace industry first and the culmination of a lot of hard work by the team, including Boeing, our suppliers and the U.S. Air Force».

The Boeing team now will conduct a post-flight inspection and calibrate instrumentation prior to the next series of flights, during which the tanker boom and WARPs systems will be deployed. Before the end of the year, the KC-46 Pegasus will begin conducting aerial refueling flights with a number of U.S. Air Force aircraft. Those flights, along with the mission systems demonstrations and a recently completed ground cargo-handling test, will support the planned Milestone C decision in 2016.

As part of a contract awarded in 2011 to design and develop the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation tanker aircraft, Boeing is building four test aircraft – two are currently configured as 767-2Cs and two KC-46A tankers. The KC-46s will fly as fully equipped tankers through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and military certification process, while the 767-2Cs enter flight test prior to receiving their upgrade to the KC-46A Pegasus configuration and the addition of their aerial refueling systems.

The program’s first test aircraft (EMD-1), a 767-2C, has completed more than 150 flight test hours to date since making its first flight in December 2014.

The KC-46A is a multirole tanker Boeing is building for the U.S. Air Force that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients. Overall, Boeing plans to build 179 KC-46 Pegasus aircraft for the U.S. Air Force.

The Boeing-built KC-46A Pegasus tanker lands after its first flight, from Paine Field, Everett, Washington to Boeing Field, Seattle. September 25, 2015 (Boeing photo)
The Boeing-built KC-46A Pegasus tanker lands after its first flight, from Paine Field, Everett, Washington to Boeing Field, Seattle. September 25, 2015 (Boeing photo)

 

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 Boeing-built KC-46A Pegasus tanker at Boeing Field, Seattle, after its first flight. September 25, 2015 (Boeing photo)
The Boeing-built KC-46A Pegasus tanker at Boeing Field, Seattle, after its first flight. September 25, 2015 (Boeing photo)

 

The thrill has since passed since the first KC-46 Pegasus prototype departed Paine Field nearly a year ago. Now the first fully militarized KC-46A Pegasus, which will be conducting aerial refueling test with F-16,’s over the Puget Sound departs on its first test flight on September 25, 2015

 

Pegasus on the rise

The Boeing KC-46 Pegasus development program completed its first flight of Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) aircraft №1 on December 28. Boeing EMD №1 is a provisioned 767-2C freighter and the critical building block for the KC-46 missionized aerial refueler. The maiden flight took off at 9:29 AM PST from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, and landed at 1:01 PM PST at Boeing Field in Seattle.

The maiden flight took off at 9:29 AM PST from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, and landed at 1:01 PM PST at Boeing Field in Seattle
The maiden flight took off at 9:29 AM PST from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, and landed at 1:01 PM PST at Boeing Field in Seattle

«Getting in the air is a critical step in the development of this important capability for the warfighter», said Brig. Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, the program executive officer for tankers at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. «The team at Boeing has done a remarkable job creating an entirely new aircraft that will soon become the backbone of our ability to project power anywhere in the world».

The 767-2C freighter is the initial step toward producing a KC-46. The aircraft will undergo additional finishing work s at the Boeing facility such as installing the refueling boom and other military specific equipment. The first flight of a Boeing KC-46 Pegasus (EMD №2) is expected in the spring of 2015.

«Today’s flight is a key step in the next generation of tankers», said Col. Christopher Coombs, the KC-46 system program manager. «We know flight testing will lead to some discovery; today’s flight kick-starts that work. There is an aggressive schedule going forward into the Milestone C decision point for approval to start Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP), but we remain cautiously optimistic we can meet the mark».

The Air Force contracted with Boeing in February 2011 to acquire 179 Boeing KC-46 refueling tankers to begin recapitalizing the aging tanker fleet. This flight is an early but important step toward meeting the required assets available date – a milestone requiring 18 KC-46 aircraft and all necessary support equipment to be on the ramp, ready to support warfighter needs, by the August 2017 timeframe.

 

Mission

The Boeing KC-46A Pegasus is intended to replace the U.S. Air Force’s aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers, which has been the primary refueling aircraft for more than 50 years. With more refueling capacity and enhanced capabilities, improved efficiency and increased capabilities for cargo and aeromedical evacuation, the KC-46A will provide aerial refueling support to the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps as well as allied nation coalition force aircraft.

The KC-46A is intended to replace the United States Air Force's aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers and provides vital air refueling capability for the United States Air Force
The KC-46A is intended to replace the United States Air Force’s aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers and provides vital air refueling capability for the United States Air Force

 

Features

The KC-46A will be able to refuel any fixed-wing receiver capable aircraft on any mission. This aircraft is equipped with a modernized KC-10 refueling boom integrated with proven fly-by-wire control system and delivering a fuel offload rate required for large aircraft. In addition, the hose and drogue system adds additional mission capability that is independently operable from the refueling boom system.

Two high-bypass turbofans, mounted under 34-degree swept wings, power the KC-46A to takeoff at gross weights up to 415,000 pounds/188,240 kg. Nearly all internal fuel can be pumped through the boom, drogue and wing aerial refueling pods. The centerline drogue and wing aerial refueling pods are used to refuel aircraft fitted with probes. All aircraft will be configured for the installation of a multipoint refueling system.

MPRS (Multi-Point Refueling System) configured aircraft will be capable of refueling two receiver aircraft simultaneously from special «pods» mounted under the wing. One crewmember known as the boom operator controls the boom, centerline drogue, and wing refueling «pods» during refueling operations. This new tanker utilizes an advanced KC-10 boom, a center mounted drogue and wing aerial refueling «pods» allowing it to refuel multiple types of receiver aircraft as well as foreign national aircraft on the same mission.

A cargo deck above the refueling system can accommodate a mix load of passengers, patients and cargo. The KC-46A can carry up to 18 463L cargo pallets. Seat tracks and the onboard cargo handling system make it possible to simultaneously carry palletized cargo, seats, and patient support pallets in a variety of combinations. The new tanker aircraft offers significantly increased cargo and aeromedical evacuation capabilities.

The aircrew compartment includes 15 permanent seats for aircrew, which includes permanent seating for the aerial refueling operator and an aerial refueling instructor. Panoramic displays giving the ARO (Aerial Refueling Operator) wing-tip to wing-tip situational awareness.

 

Background

The Boeing Company was awarded a contract for the EMD phase of the KC-46 program on February 24, 2011. The first flight of a Boeing KC-46 Pegasus (EMD №2) is expected in the spring of 2015. The current contract, with options, provides the Air Mobility Command an inventory of 179 KC-46 tankers.

Boeing KC-46 Pegasus
Boeing KC-46 Pegasus

 

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 meters)

Length:                                                165 feet, 6 inches (50.5 meters)

Height:                                                52 feet, 10 inches (15.9 meters)

Maximum Takeoff Weight:    415,000 pounds (188,240 kilograms)

Maximum Landing Weight:    310,000 pounds (140,614 kilograms)

Fuel Capacity:                                 212,299 pounds (96,297 kilograms)

Maximum Transfer Fuel Load: 207,672 pounds (94,198 kilograms)

Maximum Cargo Capacity:     65,000 pounds (29,484 kilograms)

Maximum Airspeed:                   360 KCAS (knots calibrated airspeed)/ 0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h

Service Ceiling:                              43,100 ft/13,137 m

Maximum Distance:                    8400 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 will be able to refuel any fixed-wing receiver capable aircraft on any mission
The KC-46A will be able to refuel any fixed-wing receiver capable aircraft on any mission