BOEING DEFENSE and Space has finally delivered the first two KC-46A Pegasus air refuelling tankers to the US Air Force. The aircraft, 15-46009 (c/n 41858/1102/’VH009′) callsign ‘Medusa 01′[ and 17-46031 (c/n 34115/1143) ‘Medusa 02’, departed from Paine Field, Everett, Washington, early yesterday morning, January 25, for McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, to join the 22nd Air Refueling Wing (22nd ARW). The aircraft had been formally handed over to the USAF during a ceremony the previous day at Everett. A further two are scheduled for delivery to the 22nd ARW before the end of this month, with the unit ultimately due to receive a total of 18 aircraft, although the planned delivery schedule for the remaining 16 is as yet unclear.
The two KC-46As will now undergo operational evaluation and testing, which should lead to initial operational capability being achieved around 2020. Their arrival at McConnell follows years of delays, cost overruns and development problems, with some of the latter still yet to be resolved. The first units to fly the KC-46A operationally will be the 22nd ARW’s active duty 344th Air Refueling Squadron (ARS) at McConnell and the associate Air Force Reserve unit, the 931st ARW/924th ARS.
From next month (February), the 56th Air Refueling Squadron at Altus AFB, Oklahoma, will begin receiving four Pegasus. Additionally, one KC-46A has already been assigned to the 418th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards AFB, California, for trials.
In November 2019, the New Hampshire Air National Guard’s 157th ARW will receive its first KC-46A at Pease ANGB, New Hampshire, followed by AFRC’s 916th ARW at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina, in early 2020. The next units to take delivery of the type, in late 2020, are the 305th AMW, 108th AW and 514th AMW at Joint Base McGuire-Lakehurst, New Jersey. The last base currently scheduled to receive the Pegasus is Travis AFB, California, where deliveries to the 60th AMW are due to begin in early 2023. Boeing is due to deliver a total of 179 KC-46As to the USAF.