The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded a $2.9bn contract to Boeing for the fourth production lot of the service’s KC-46A Pegasus multirole aerial refuelling tanker aircraft.
Under the deal, the company will be responsible for manufacturing and delivering 18 KC-46A tankers, in addition to associated spares, support equipment, spare engines, and wing air refuelling pod kits.
With the current agreement, Boeing is under contract for the development of a total of 52 KC-46 aerial refuelling aircraft for the USAF.
The order for the first and second production lots, which involved delivery of seven and 12 tankers respectively, was awarded to the company in August 2016. The contract for the third production lot of 15 aircraft was awarded in January last year.
Boeing KC-46A vice-president and programme manager Mike Gibbons said: “We’re excited to partner with the airforce on an aircraft that will provide its fleet unmatched capabilities and versatility.
“This is another big milestone for the team and we look forward to delivering this next-generation, multi-role tanker for years to come.”
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In 2011, the company secured the initial contract for the design and development of the USAF’s newest KC-46 tanker fleet.
Boeing is currently assembling the tanker fleet at its facility in Everett, Washington, US, with deliveries expected to commence later this year.
The KC-46A Pegasus is a widebody tanker that has the capability to refuel all US, allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refuelling procedures.
The 50.5m-long aircraft has also been designed to carry passengers, cargo and patients while being equipped with the ability to detect and defend against threats using multiple layers of protection.