Boeing has delivered the first two KC-46 Pegasus tanker aircraft to the U.S. Air Force. The aircraft, which were built at Boeing’s facility in Everett, Washington, departed Paine Field on Friday to join the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas. Two more KC-46s are scheduled to be delivered to McConnel within the next few weeks followed by four going to Oklahoma’s Altus Air Force Base. Boeing says it plans to build 179 of the Boeing 767-based refueling aircraft to replace the Air Force’s legacy tanker fleet.
“The KC-46A is a proven, safe, multi-mission aircraft that will transform aerial refueling and mobility operations for decades to come,” said CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security Leanne Caret. “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 refueling, mobility and combat weapons systems missions.”
According to Boeing, the KC-46 is capable of refueling 64 different aircraft types. The tanker’s boom can transfer up to 1,200 gallons of fuel per minute. It also has hose and drogue systems located on the aircraft’s wing and centerline, which allow it to refuel smaller aircraft at up to 400 gallons of fuel per minute. In addition, Boeing says the KC-46 can be rapidly converted for medevac and cargo.