Improved Reliability and Life-Cycle Costs
The US Air Force (USAF) has exercised an option to contract the second KC-46 tanker aircraft for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), Boeing announced on 10 December.
Boeing was awarded the initial Foreign Military Sale (FMS) contract for Japan’s first KC-46 aircraft and miscellaneous logistics services in December 2017, following Japan’s KC-X aerial refuelling competition.
“Japan’s new tankers will not only enhance interoperability with the US Air Force, but also play an important role in the security partnership between our two countries,” observed USAF KC-46 System Program Manager, Col John Newberry.
“Japan is our first KC-46 international partner and we look forward to delivering this highly capable, multi-role tanker to the JASDF,” added Boeing Global Sales and Marketing Asia Regional Executive, John Suding. “The KC-46 will be much easier to maintain than previous tankers, improving reliability and lowering life-cycle costs. It will be a valuable addition to Japan’s air mobility fleet for decades to come.”
The KC-46 is a multirole tanker, designed to refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refuelling procedures and to carry passengers, cargo and patients.
Boeing began developing the KC-46A PEGASUS tanker for the USAF in 2011 and is assembling the 767-derivative aircraft at its Everett, WA facility. First flight of the fully-provisioned KC-46 tanker took place in September 2015. Six test aircraft have now completed more than 3,700 flight hours and supplied more than four million pounds of fuel in flight to F-15E, F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10, B-52, KC-10, KC-135 and KC-46 aircraft.