The U.S. Air Force and Boeing reached two agreements on April 2 to implement a final KC-46A Pegasus Remote Vision System design, known as RVS 2.0.
The two Memorandums of Agreement (MOA) will be incorporated in the KC-46 contract.
The first MOA institutes the redesign and retrofit of RVS 2.0 in full compliance with the contract requirements at no additional cost to the government. This agreement addresses deficiencies that hindered safe and effective refueling operations.
RVS 2.0 will include 4K color cameras with proper viewing geometry, operator stations with larger screens, a laser ranger for refueling aircraft distance measurement and boom assistance augmented reality. With the help of scientists and engineers from both enterprises, the Air Force will lead design reviews and approve specifications to drive the partnership toward initial fielding in 2023.
The second and separate MOA acknowledges possible impacts of the current COVID-19 outbreak on the nation and the defense industrial base, and releases previously withheld contract payments to help ensure successful performance under the program. This agreement provides Boeing $882 million of withheld payments for the previous non-compliance in 33 KC-46 deliveries.
“This withhold release is in line with the Department of the Air Force and Department of Defense policies to maximize cash flow, where prudent, to combat coronavirus impacts on the industry base. Within 120 days, the Air Force and Boeing will conduct an expedited process to determine final specification compliance or non-compliance”, said a statement from Secretary of the Air Force.
Boeing Defense, Space & Security President and CEO Leanne Caret issued the following statement regarding the KC-46 agreement with the U.S. Air Force:
The Air Force and Boeing will make the KC-46 synonymous with aerial refueling excellence. The agreement we announced today takes advantage of new remote vision systems technologies that are orders of magnitude better than what was available when the program started. Generations of women and men in uniform will benefit from the advancements we are making in the science of visualization systems. Not only will these advancements benefit the KC-46 by preparing it for future capabilities like autonomous refueling, they will also benefit other programs for years to come. The investments we continue to make in the KC-46 clearly demonstrate Boeing’s commitment to Pegasus being the standard by which all future refueling aircraft are measured.
Boeing KC-46 Pegasus
The Boeing KC-46 Pegasus is a multirole aerial refueling tanker/transport aircraft developed by Boeing for the U.S. Air Force (USAF). The aircraft is derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe.
The tanker is 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.
KC-46’s primary operator, the USAF, took delivery of the first aircraft earlier this year. 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.