On January 24th, Boeing and U.S. Air Force aircrews successfully completed the KC-46A tanker’s first refueling flight in the skies above Washington state. Following takeoff from Boeing Field in Seattle, the KC-46A test team worked through a series of test points before smoothly offloading 1,600 pounds of fuel to an F-16 fighter aircraft flying at 20,000 feet.
During the five hour and 38 minute flight, both Boeing and Air Force air refueling operators accomplished multiple contacts with the F-16 that confirmed the system was ready to transfer fuel.
The KC-46A that accomplished the refueling milestone will soon begin refueling a number of other military aircraft as well, including a C-17, F/A-18, A-10 and AV-8B. Also known as EMD-2, the tanker made its first flight September 25, 2015 and has now completed 32 flights.
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 aircraft for the U.S. Air Force.