Boeing on 10 December has announced that the U.S. Air Force has exercised the option for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s second Boeing KC-46 tanker through the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) process.
Boeing was awarded the initial FMS contract for Japan’s first KC-46 aircraft and miscellaneous logistics services in December 2017 following the Japan Ministry of Defense’s KC-X aerial refueling competition.
“Japan’s new tankers will not only enhance interoperability with the U.S. Air Force, but also play an important role in the security partnership between our two countries,” said Col. John Newberry, U.S. Air Force KC-46 System Program Manager.
“Japan is our first KC-46 international partner and we look forward to delivering this highly capable, multi-role tanker to the JASDF,” said John Suding, Boeing Global Sales and Marketing Asia regional executive. “The KC-46 will be much easier to maintain than previous tankers, improving reliability and lowering life-cycle costs. It will be a valuable addition to Japan’s air mobility fleet for decades to come.”
The KC-46 is a multirole tanker designed to refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.
Boeing began developing the KC-46A Pegasus tanker for the U.S. Air Force in 2011 and is assembling the 767-derivative aircraft at its Everett, Wash., facility.
First flight of the fully-provisioned KC-46 tanker took place in September 2015. Six test aircraft have now completed more than 3,700 flight hours and supplied more than four million pounds of fuel in flight to F-15E, F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10, B-52, KC-10, KC-135 and KC-46 aircraft.