The world’s most advanced tanker is ready for take-off and headed to U.S. Air Force bases. The KC-46, derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, is built in the company’s Everett, Wash. facility. Including future options, Boeing plans to build 179 of the Boeing 767-based refueling aircraft for the Air Force to replace its legacy tanker fleet.
KC-46 is able to refuel 64 different aircraft and that includes all U.S., allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures. During extensive flight testing, six KC-46 have completed more than 3,800 flight hours and offloaded more than four million pounds 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 refueling envelope and in all conditions, including day, night and covert.
When in service, the multi-role KC-46 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 of fuel per minute, while the hose and drogue systems, located on both the plane’s wing and centerline, enables the KC-46 to refuel smaller aircraft with up to 400 gallons of fuel per minute.
The aircraft can detect, avoid, defeat and survive threats using multiple layers of protection, which will enable it to operate safely in medium-threat environments and rapidly convert for med evac and cargo.
Stay tuned as we continue to deliver KC-46 to the U.S. Air Force and share the capabilities story.