What’s Gone Wrong — And Right — With the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus Tanker?



The U.S. Air Pressure wants extra flying tankers to bridge the hole between present capabilities and the next-generation KC-Z refueling plane it’s planning. The Boeing KC-46A is one choice, as is Lockheed Martin’s LMXT, which is a modified model of Airbus A330 Multi Position Tanker Transport.

The next are incessantly requested questions in regards to the KC-46A.

What’s the KC-46A Pegasus?

The KC-46A Pegasus is the most recent Boeing-designed tanker used for mid-air refueling of plane. In growth for greater than a decade, the KC-46A takes on operations beforehand dealt with by the KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-10 Extender. It options increase and hose-and-drogue techniques which are capable of refuel all U.S., allied and coalition navy plane appropriate with worldwide refueling procedures.

Who makes it?

The Air Pressure first contracted with Boeing in 2011 to fabricate 179 KC-46A′s to start modernizing and changing the Air Pressure’s virtually 50-year-old KC-135 fleet. Manufactured at Boeing’s manufacturing facility in Everett, Washington, the KC-46A is a variation of the Boeing 767 business passenger plane, and can come off the road as a “767-2C Provisioned Freighter that can finally turn into a military-configured KC-46 tanker,” in accordance with the 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Pressure Base.

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Is the KC-46A in service?

The KC-46A had flown greater than 9,000 sorties and offloaded greater than 78 million kilos of gasoline, in accordance with info supplied by Boeing. It’s able to holding greater than 210,000 kilos of gasoline at take-off.

Have there been issues with the KC-46A tanker?

Not like the KC-135 and KC-10 it’s designed to exchange, the KC-46A refuels plane with its operators utilizing a Distant Imaginative and prescient System of cameras and sensors to information the increase into the plane being refueled.

The plane has been riddled with technical points as a result of issues with the RVS, costing Boeing billions to repair and delaying its fuller integration into the Air Pressure.

The cameras and sensors typically might be distorted or tough to view below sure gentle situations, so tankers ran the chance of scraping the increase alongside plane mid-flight. The Air Pressure designated the issue as a class I deficiency, some of the critical points with an plane.

In January, Boeing recorded a 14 % drop in its protection enterprise gross sales, partially as a result of poor efficiency and technical problems with the KC-46A.

What’s being performed to handle the RVS subject?

This previous April, Boeing agreed to a plan with the U.S. Air Pressure that might change the RVS with a brand new system ― the Distant Imaginative and prescient System 2.0. Air Pressure spokeswoman Capt. Samantha Morrison instructed Protection Information in a press release that Boeing would cowl the prices of the brand new RVS 2.0 updates wanted for the KC-46A.

Are the fixes working?

With its preliminary flight in December 2014, the KC-46 solely acquired its first interim functionality launch mission ― a take a look at of what plane may be refueled by the airplane ― on July 9 of final 12 months after technical RVS points. By Might of this 12 months, a KC-46 at McConnell Air Pressure Base in Kansas accomplished 24.2 hours of flight time, a program document.

Right now, the KC-46A now has functionality to assist 97% of joint power air refueling calls for, in accordance with a June 1 assertion from U.S. Air Mobility Command.

“Credible and dependable KC-46A tanker functionality is now out there to our joint and worldwide companions,” Gen. Mike Minihan, commander of Air Mobility Command, mentioned in a press release. “In Might 2021, the KC-46A was not cleared to operationally assist any [U.S. Transportation Command] missions. With a staff of unbelievable professionals throughout the enterprise analyzing the info and making risk-informed choices, we’ve intentionally and aggressively accelerated the Pegasus’ operational use.”

What number of KC-46A tankers does the Air Pressure need?

The Air Pressure has requested Congress to decrease the minimal variety of tankers wanted within the Air Pressure’s tanker fleet. Congress set the minimal variety of tankers wanted in case a battle broke out at 479 within the 2019 Nationwide Protection Authorization Act, which was primarily based on a U.S. Transportation Command research in 2018.

Air Pressure Secretary Frank Kendall, at a Heritage basis occasion, mentioned that he believes 455 tankers can be sufficient to counter adversaries.

How a lot has the KC-46A program price?

The tanker has formally price Boeing extra to repair than the entire worth of the contract it signed with the Air Pressure. Since that first flight in 2014, Boeing has usually needed to pay fees to repair points with tanker, such because the RVS system. Whereas Boeing first signed a $4.9 billion cope with the Air Pressure to construct the tanker, the corporate has accrued greater than $5 billion price of fees to due the technical points.


Initially revealed by Navy Instances, our sister publication.

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