Boeing awarded USD 1.7 Bn contract to supply 12 KC-46 air tankers to US Air Force

The U.S. Departement of Defense announced on January 12 that Boeing has been awarded a $1,687,359,008 modification (P00166) to contract FA8625-11-C-6600 for Lot Six production of KC-46 aircraft, subscriptions and licenses, and G081 flat file. The contract modification provides for the exercise of an option for an additional quantity of 12 KC-46 aircraft, data, subscriptions and licenses, and G081 flat file being produced under the basic contract.

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Boeing awarded USD 1.7 Bn contract to supply 12 KC 46 air tankers to US Air Force

A Boeing KC-46A Pegasus takes off from Yokota Air Base, Japan, Oct. 25, 2018, during a system evaluation (Picture source: U.S. Air Force/Yasuo Osakabe)

Work will be performed in Seattle, Washington, and is expected to be completed April 30, 2023. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.

The Boeing KC-46 Pegasus is an aerial refueling and strategic military transport aircraft. The Pegasus is a variant of the Boeing 767 airliner and is a widebody, low-wing cantilever monoplane with a conventional tail unit featuring a single fin and rudder. It has a hydraulic flight control system. The Pegasus is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW4062 engines. The KC-46 has been described as combining "the 767-200ER's fuselage, with the 767-300F's wing, gear, cargo door and floor, with the 767-400ER digital flightdeck and flaps".

The flightdeck has room for a crew of four with a forward crew compartment with seats for 15 crew members and in the rear fuselage either palletized passenger seating for 58, or 18 pallets in cargo configuration. The rear compartment can also be used in an aero-medical configuration for 54 patients (24 on litters).

There is a ladder that can be pulled down near the front landing gear to provide for quick ingress to the aircraft by crew for rapid deployment situations.

At the rear of the aircraft is a fly-by-wire refueling boom supplemented by Wing Air Refueling Pods at each wingtip and a Centerline Drogue System under the rear fuselage.

In February 2011, the tanker was selected by the U.S. Air Force as the winner in the KC-X tanker competition to replace older Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers. The first aircraft was delivered to the Air Force in January 2019. The Air Force intends to procure 179 Pegasus aircraft by 2027.