Boeing has secured a contract to deliver a KC-46 Pegasus military aerial refuelling and strategic military transport tanker aircraft to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).

The contract follows after the US Air Force (USAF) exercised the option included in the initial contract awarded through the US foreign military sale process.

This KC-46 will be the second addition to the JASDF’s current fleet of four KC-767J tankers.

In December 2017, Boeing secured a $279m contract to deliver Japan’s first KC-46 aircraft, which was selected by the Japan Ministry of Defense through its KC-X aerial refuelling competition. It also includes the delivery of KC-46 logistics support.

US Air Force KC-46 System programme manager colonel John Newberry said: “Japan’s new tankers will not only enhance interoperability with the US Air Force but also play an important role in the security partnership between our two countries.”

“In addition to refuelling, the wide-body, multi-mission 767-derivative aircraft can transport fuel, cargo, passengers and patients.”

Boeing global sales and marketing Asia regional executive John Suding said: “Japan is our first KC-46 international partner and we look forward to delivering this highly capable multi-role tanker to the JASDF.

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“The KC-46 will be much easier to maintain than previous tankers, improving reliability and lowering lifecycle costs. It will be a valuable addition to Japan’s air mobility fleet for decades to come.”

Powered by two Pratt & Whitney Model 4062 (PW4062) Turbofan engines, the KC-46A is a multirole tanker that can refuel all US, allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refuelling procedures.

In addition to refuelling, the wide-body, multi-mission 767-derivative aircraft can transport fuel, cargo, passengers and patients.

A fully provisioned KC-46 tanker conducted its maiden flight in September 2015.

To date, six test aircraft have logged in more than 3,700 flight hours and supplied more than four million pounds of fuel in flight to aircraft, including F-15E, F-16, AV-8B, A-10, B-52, KC-135 and KC-46.