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Air Force signs $2.9 billion contract with Boeing for 18 refueling aircraft to replace aging models

A graphic shows the key features of the KC-46 Pegasus. Boeing plans to build 179 of the 767-based refueling aircraft for the Air Force to replace the 60-year-old KC-135 Stratotankers.

COURTESY OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE

By WILLIAM HOWARD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 11, 2018

The Air Force has given Boeing a $2.9 billion contract for 18 additional KC-46A refueling aircraft, including support equipment and wing air refueling pod kits.

This brings the current production contract for the KC-46A to 52 aircraft, with deliveries expected to begin later this year, Boeing said in a statement Monday.

The KC-46A Pegasus is designed for aerial refueling procedures for all compatible U.S., allied and coalition military aircraft.

Boeing plans to eventually build 179 of the refueling aircraft, based on the Air Force’s 2007 request. The new refuelers, built on the commercial 767 jet frame, replace the KC-135 Stratotankers, which date back to the 1950s.

The KC-46A features an extendable boom that allows the tanker to transfer up to 1,200 gallons of fuel per minute, while a separate hose and drogue system located on the wing and centerline enable it to pump up to 400 gallons of fuel per minute to smaller aircraft.

howard.william@stripes.com
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A KC-46A Pegasus test aircraft touched down at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., May 23, 2018, for a round of testing. The new aerial refueling aircraft is intended to start replacing the Air Force's aging tanker fleet.
CHRISTOPHER OKULA/U.S. AIR FORCE

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