The U.S. Air Force has accepted the first Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft. The hand over sets the stage for the aircraft’s delivery to McConnell AFB, Kansas, in the coming weeks.
Leanne Caret, president and chief executive of Boeing Defence, Space & Security said: “The KC-46A is a proven, safe, multi-mission aircraft that will transform aerial refuelling and mobility operations for decades to come. We look forward to working with the Air Force, and the Navy, during their initial operational test and evaluation of the KC-46, as we further demonstrate the operational capabilities of this next-generation aircraft across refuelling, mobility and combat weapons systems missions. I want to thank the men and women of the Air Force and across the Boeing tanker team who made this happen.”
During extensive flight testing, six KC-46As completed more than 3,800 flight hours and offloaded more than 4,000,000lb (1,814,369kg) of fuel to A-10, B-52, C-17, KC-10, KC-135, KC-46, F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft. The Pegasus has been rigorously tested throughout all aspects of the refuelling envelope and in all conditions, including day, night and covert. Flight acceptance testing has been led by Maj Nick Cenci, USAF chief of flight operations, Defense Contract Management Agency (DMCA) (Seattle) (pictured above, left) and Maj Anthony Mariapain, USAF KC-46 Chief Pilot DCMA (Seattle).
With the signing of the DD250 paperwork, deliveries can begin. McConnell AFB will receive the first four KC-46 aircraft, all of which are ready for delivery, with four subsequent aircraft destined for Altus AFB, Oklahoma, from February.
Boeing has been contracted to provide 52 of an expected 179 tankers for the Air Force. Beyond the first aircraft that was accepted today, nine aircraft are undergoing customer acceptance testing with the remaining aircraft in production.