First Boeing KC-46 Pegasus En Route for October Delivery

The first KC-46 tanker for the U.S. Air Force takes off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., on its maiden flight. During the three and one-half hour flight, pilots took the aircraft to 39,000 feet and performed operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems. The KC-46 is a multirole tanker than can refuel all allied and coalition aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients. (Photo by Marian Lockhart)

Photo courtesy of Boeing

Nearly 17 years after the U.S. Air Force started looking for a replacement for its KC-135 Stratotankers, it will finally be receiving the first of its next-generation KC-46 Pegasus refueling tankers in October, according to both Boeing and the Air Force.

McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas will be the recipient of that first Pegasus, with Boeing tweeting out that “The best of #Boeing are working 24/7 to ensure the Air Force gets them as quickly as possible.”

The multi-role tanker is based on a 767 airframe converted for refueling purposes and is designed for compatibility with a wide variety of U.S. and allied aircraft.

The $44.3 billion program has been beset by delays and hiccups, including deficiencies that needed fixing in two systems as recently as March.

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