Boeing to deliver first KC-46 military aerial refueling aircraft to Japan in early 2021

According to information published on December 16, 2020, the first KC-46 military aerial refueling and strategic military transport aircraft could be delivered in Japan in early 2021. The KC-46 is developed by American company Boeing based on its 767-2C jet airliner. Boeing has delivered more than 1,150 767s worldwide.

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Boeing to deliver first KC 46 military aerial refueling aircraft to Japan in early 2021 925 001 A KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling aircraft connects with an F-15 Strike Eagle test aircraft from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, on Oct. 29th, 2018. (Picture source U.S. Air Force)

American company Boeing began the development of the KC-46A for the U.S. Air Force in 2011 and delivered the first tanker in January 2019. Japan is the program’s first international customer. According to Boeing, the first refueling aircraft could be delivered in 2021.

The KC-46 will be a force multiplier in the U.S.-Japanese defense alliance, certified to refuel all U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and JASDF aircraft safely and efficiently. Built to carry passengers, cargo and patients, it will be easier to maintain than previous tankers, improving reliability and lowering life-cycle costs.

Boeing was awarded the initial FMS (Foreign Military Sale) contract for Japan’s first KC-46 aircraft and logistics services in December 2017 following the Japan Ministry of Defense’s KC-X aerial refueling competition. A contract for a second KC-46 was awarded to Boeing in December 2018.

The KC-46A Pegasus is a wide-body, multirole tanker that can refuel all U.S., allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures. Boeing designed the KC-46 to carry passengers, cargo, and patients. 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.