The U.S. Air Force’s KC-46 Pegasus aerial refueling tanker made its international trade show debut June 17, when it arrived at the Paris Air Show 2019 in Le Bourget, France.
The McConnell-based KC-46 will be on display there through June 23, exposing both trade visitors and members of the general public to the aircraft that represents the start of a new era in air-to-air refueling.
The platform’s enhanced communications and connectivity, self-protection, and defensive capabilities will provide increased capability against near-peer adversaries, a Department of Defense priority emphasized by the 2018 National Defense Strategy.
A modern plane with modern technology, the KC-46 features a state-of-the-art glass cockpit with advanced electronic displays, a 400 gallon-per-minute centerline drogue fueling rate, a boom operator system with improved ergonomics, a 3D refueling picture, and panoramic view.
Once operational, the aircraft will offer enhanced usability for operators, an essential capability for the Joint Force.
Capable of refueling various types of aircraft without landing to reconfigure equipment, it will provide additional flexibility in supporting joint and partnered operations during the same mission.
Further, its range, significant capacity for aeromedical evacuation patients, and ability to be refueled in air will enable the Air Force to supply greater support for U.S. and allied ground forces.
Since the first delivery on January 25, the Air Force has accepted 10 more KC-46s (for a total of 11); six at McConnell, Kansas, and five at Altus AFB, Oklahoma.
On June 4, designated aircraft and aircrew at McConnell started Initial Operational Testing and Evaluation, which will provide an assessment of how well the aircraft performs under the strain of operations.
As the KC-46 program proceeds with IOT&E, participation in the Paris Air Show and other international aviation events serve as opportunities to increase understanding of ally and partner capabilities and proficiencies, while promoting standardization and interoperability of equipment.
Other air mobility aircraft attending the Paris Air Show are the C-130J Super Hercules, KC-10 Extender, C-17 Globemaster III, KC-135R Stratotanker.