Boeing Secures $2.3 Billion Contract for 15 More KC-46A Pegasus Tankers

In a major development, the U.S. Air Force has granted Boeing a substantial $2.3 billion contract for the production of an additional 15 KC-46A Pegasus refueling tankers. The announcement was made by the Pentagon on Tuesday evening, marking a significant milestone for Boeing’s involvement in the tanker program.

With this latest contract, Boeing’s commitment to building KC-46s for both the United States and its allies has now reached 153 aircraft. The Air Force’s initial plan involves procuring a total of 179 KC-46s, and Boeing reports that it has successfully delivered 76 units so far.

The contract specifies that these 15 new tankers will constitute the KC-46’s tenth production lot, and the projected completion date for the aircraft is set for the end of July 2027. All manufacturing activities will take place at Boeing’s factory in Everett, Washington.

This development comes hot on the heels of another contract issued in January for the ninth production lot, which, coincidentally, was also for 15 tankers and held a similar valuation of $2.3 billion.

The growing presence of the KC-46 in the Air Force fleet has been notable, with the service expanding its capabilities steadily. In September 2022, the KC-46 received clearance for refueling all aircraft (except the A-10 Warthog) and performing refueling missions worldwide.

In a strategic move, Travis Air Force Base in California received the first of its 24 planned KC-46s in July, aiming to replace the aging KC-10 Extenders. This installation, known as the “Gateway to the Pacific,” plays a crucial role in logistics and mobility operations due to its location.

The KC-46’s versatility was showcased during July’s Mobility Guardian 23 exercise in the Indo-Pacific region, where the tankers executed sorties lasting up to an impressive 35 hours. The Air Force emphasized the aircraft’s ability to conduct complex, long-distance missions effectively.

In addition to its primary role in aerial refueling, the KC-46 serves various purposes, including cargo and passenger transportation, aeromedical evacuation support missions, and data sharing capabilities with other aircraft and ground operations centers.

Looking ahead, Boeing’s involvement in the KC-135 fleet recapitalization remains a possibility, with discussions of a potential additional order of 75 KC-46s. Boeing’s chances received a boost in October when Lockheed Martin withdrew from the competition, leaving Airbus as the primary contender.

As Boeing celebrates this latest contract win, the aviation community eagerly anticipates the continued evolution and impact of the versatile KC-46A Pegasus tanker in modern air force operations. #Boeing #KC46A #USAirForce #MilitaryAviation #DefenseContract

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