The world’s most advanced aerial refueling aircraft, serving the U.S. Air Force and allies
KC-46A: The World’s Most Advanced Aerial Refueler
Ideal size and capability to ensure more booms in the air throughout the operational theater
The KC-46 delivers more fuel at all ranges and from shorter runways than the KC-135 aircraft it is replacing for the U.S. Air Force.
The KC-46 takes up less ramp space than competing commercial-derivative tankers, enabling mission reach at forward and austere airfields.
Proven aerial refueling systems and capacity to support the full spectrum of missions
The KC-46 features proven boom and hose-and-drogue systems capable of refueling all U.S., allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures.
The Pegasus tanker has already offloaded more than 78 million pounds (35.4 million kilograms) of fuel to a variety of receivers and conducted more than 9,000 sorties.
Current KC-46 air refueling receiver certifications include: AV-8B, B-1, B-52, C-5, C-17, C-130, C-135, E-3, E-8, EA-18, F-15, F-16, F/A-18, F-22, F-35, KC-10, KC-46, KC-135, P-8A and V-22.
The KC-46’s modernized fly-by-wire boom provides a receiver envelope three times larger than the receiver envelope of the KC-135 it is replacing for the U.S. Air Force.
KC-46: Enabling Global Reach With Capability, Survivability and Versatility
Combat-ready countermeasures and survivability
The KC-46 is built to U.S. Air Force specifications for combat readiness and survivability.
Multiple layers of self-protection systems and combat-ready defensive countermeasures include the Tactical Situational Awareness Suite; nuclear, chemical and biological hardening; flight deck armor; radio frequency threat detection; and infrared missile countermeasures.
Versatility for cargo, passenger or medevac airlift
The KC-46 accommodates three times more cargo pallets, up to twice as many passengers and about 30% more aeromedical evacuation patients than the KC-135 aircraft it is replacing for the U.S. Air Force.
The KC-46’s large cargo door and cargo rollers enable rapid mission reconfiguration. The Pegasus can switch from cargo mode to passenger/medevac modes in two hours.
The KC-46 tanker is capable of carrying as many military-standardized pallets as a C-17 and is compatible with all U.S. Air Force loaders.
The KC-46 provides onboard emergency oxygen and electrical power for medevac support.
Next-generation capability to evolve for the mission
The Advanced Battle Management System, a top modernization priority for the U.S. Air Force, will leverage the KC-46’s flight-test-proven Wing Air Refueling Pods to turn the tanker into an airborne “internet hotspot” connecting the data fabric of the all-domain warfighter at the tactical edge.
The U.S. production line builds the KC-46 to be a tanker from day one — not an aftermarket modification — making it uniquely suited to integrate new capabilities and advanced technology.
KC-46 Tanker: Flying Today’s Air-to-Air Refueling Missions, Poised for the Future
Operationally deployed and delivering fuel today
The U.S. Air Force has approved the KC-46 to operationally refuel 97% of the receiver aircraft requesting support from U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), including 5th Gen stealth low-observable fighters.
The KC-46A provides in-flight refueling support for the Air Force’s highest priority missions, including presidential support and real-world, theater operational missions.
The U.S. Air Force operates the KC-46A Pegasus tanker out of five bases: Altus Air Force Base, McConnell Air Force Base, Pease Air National Guard Base, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
Certified aircraft and production line
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has already certified the KC-46A to the maximum extent possible.
The KC-46A is the only tanker that meets the stringent airworthiness and performance requirements of the FAA and U.S. Air Force.
Built in the U.S. with suppliers in more than 40 states.
Delivering multirole tankers to the U.S. Air Force and allies
Boeing has built and delivered 61of the 179 KC-46A tankers currently planned for the U.S. Air Force.
Boeing has delivered two KC-46A tankers to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. Boeing delivered the first KC-46A tanker to Japan in October 2021 and second in February 2022. Boeing is currently on contract to deliver four KC-46A tankers to Japan.
The Israeli Ministry of Defense has signed Letters of Offer and Acceptance for four KC-46A multirole tankers.
KC-46 News and Milestones
KC-46 Feature Stories: Go Behind the Scenes of the Pegasus