The US Air Force (USAF) has received the fifth KC-46A Pegasus multi-role tanker aircraft from Boeing in Oklahoma.
The aircraft represents the first that will be based at the Altus Air Force Base (AFB).
Activated in August 2016 in preparation for the new tanker’s arrival, the 56th Air Refueling Squadron is responsible for aircrew, maintenance and support training.
Boeing Defense, Space and Security president and CEO Leanne Caret said: “We’re excited to see the Pegasus arrive in Oklahoma, a strong partner to Boeing and America’s military.
“We look forward to continuing to deliver KC-46 tankers to Altus, McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas, and New Hampshire’s Pease Air National Guard Base, throughout this year.”
The company will deliver three more KC-46A aircraft to the Altus base in the upcoming weeks.
Boeing is currently on contract to supply 52 of an expected 179 tankers for the USAF. The first four multi-role KC-46 tankers were delivered to McConnell AFB in Wichita, Kansas, last month.
Altus AFB 97th Air Mobility Wing commander Colonel Eric Carney said: “The ‘Mighty 97th’ is looking forward to accepting and integrating the KC-46 into our mission.
“The 97th AMW has and will continue to produce combat-capable pilots, loadmasters, and boom operators for the KC-135, C-17, and KC-46 and we remain committed to innovating how we train them to be a part of a joint force to win our nation’s wars.”
According to Boeing, six KC-46 aircraft delivered more than four million pounds of fuel to A-10, AV-8B, B-52, C-17, KC-10, KC-135, KC-46, F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft during extensive flight testing so far.
Developed based on Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, the KC-46 aerial refuelling and airlift aircraft is expected to be more survivable with enhanced communication, self-protection and situational awareness capabilities.
In 2011, the USAF awarded an initial contract to the company to design and develop the newest tanker aircraft.
Meanwhile, a 158-acre maintenance campus is being developed at Tinker AFB to serve as the designated hub of maintenance for the aircraft. Construction of the campus is still underway.