The U.S. Air Force’s newest aerial refueling tanker aircraft, the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus, completed receiver certification testing with the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter aircraft and RC-135 Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft, Boeing announced.
The KC-46, derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, is a multirole tanker designed to refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.
The first flight of the fully-provisioned KC-46 tanker took place in September 2015. Boeing is assembling KC-46 aircraft at its Everett, Wash., facility.
KC-46’s main operator is the U.S. Air Force which took delivery of the first aircraft earlier this year.
In September, Boeing was awarded a contract modification, worth around $2.6 billion, by the Air Force for 15 Lot 5 production KC-46 Pegasus tanker aircraft, initial spares, and support equipment. With this fifth production lot, Boeing now is on contract for 67 KC-46 tankers. Boeing received its first two production lots, for 7 and 12 aircraft, in August 2016. The third lot, for 15 aircraft, was awarded in January 2017; the fourth lot for 18 aircraft in September 2018.
Boeing plans to build a total of 179 of the refueling aircraft for the Air Force to replace its legacy KC-135 Stratotanker fleet.
The aircraft is also ordered by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), making it the aircraft’s first international customer. The $279 million contract for the first aircraft and logistics support was awarded to Boeing in 2017 under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program and the $159 million contract modification for the second aircraft was awarded in 2018.