Boeing has commenced assembly of the first KC-46A tanker for the Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF). This aircraft is a new generation tanker based on the Boeing 767-2C air frame. It is certified to fuel all US armed forces and Japanese Self Defence Force’s aircraft. Boeing has sold 1,150 767-2C airliners and freight aircraft world wide. Boeing started developing the KC-46A for the USAF in 2011 and Japan is the first foreign country to receive this aircraft.
The KC-46A also called the Pegasus is a wide body multi role tanker which is designed to refuel all U.S., allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures. In addition to fuel it can also carry cargo, passengers and patients. It is loaded with a number of sensors and protection systems to detect, avoid, defeat and survive in a medium threat environment.
The KC-46 A has an advanced fly by wire boom and wing mounted hose and drogue systems which can dispense fuel at 1,200 gallons/minute. It also carries external Wing Refueling Pods called called Warps which can dispense fuel at 400 gallon/ minute. These are removable pods which allow the aircraft to refuel multiple aircraft simultaneously. The tanker has an online health diagnostic system which provides real time health monitoring improving operational availability and mission capability. The Air refuelling operator station onboard has feed from high resolution cameras to provide clear vision for day, night and covert operations.
The KC-46A is 50.5 m long, 47.5 m wide and 16.1 m tall. It is powered by two Pratt and Whitney PW 4062 engines producing 289.13 KN of thrust pushing this 188,241 kg (when fully loaded) aircraft to a top speed of 0.86 mach (650 mph). The KC-46A has a fuel carrying capacity of 96,265 kgs.
In passenger mode it can carry between 54 and 115 troops, while in ambulance mode it can carry 54 patients. When used in the cargo mode it can carry 18 463L pallets standard with the US armed forces. The aircraft has a crew of 15.