Business

February 15, 2016
 

Boeing, U.S. Air Force complete KC-46 tanker refueling flight with F/A-18

Boeing photograph by John Parker

The KC-46 Pegasus tanker refuels an F/A-18 aircraft using its hose and drogue system for the first time. Boeing and Air Force aircrews successfully made contact with and refueled the fighter aircraft during the four-hour flight over Washington State. During the four-plus hour flight, the tanker’s air refueling operator smoothly transferred fuel to the F/A-18 flying at 20,000 feet. The KC-46 will refuel U.S., allied and coalition military aircraft using both its boom and hose and drogue systems. The boom allows the tanker to transfer up to 1,200 gallons of fuel per minute, while the plane’s hose and drogue systems, located on both the plane’s wing and centerline, enables the KC-46 to refuel smaller aircraft such as the F/A-18 with up to 400 gallons of fuel per minute.
On January 24, the KC-46 refueled an F-16 fighter using its air refueling boom. The refueling flights are part of the program’s Milestone C demonstration, which will lead to a low-rate initial production decision later this year. Boeing plans to build 179 KC-46 aircraft for the U.S. Air Force.




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