The US Air Force’s (USAF) Boeing-built KC-46 Pegasus tanker has successfully refuelled a US Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II in flight over Washington state.
The refuelling flights are part of the KC-46 Tanker Programme’s Milestone C demonstration, with a low-rate initial production decision expected later this year.
Using its hose and drogue system, which are located on both the tanker’s wing and centreline, the KC-46 can refuel smaller aircraft such as the Harrier Jump Jet with up to 400 gallons of fuel per minute.
According to Boeing, the boom allows the tanker to transfer up to 1,200 gallons of fuel per minute.
So far, the KC-46 has refuelled multiple aircraft including an USAF F-16 and a US Navy F-18A Super Hornet. The KC-46A is set to begin to refuel other military aircraft such as C-17 and A-10.
The 412th Test Wing is the lead developmental test organisation for the KC-46 Tanker Program.
The USAF’s KC-46A is a multirole tanker that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft and is compatible with international aerial refuelling procedures in addition to the transportation of passengers, cargo and patients.
The tanker has been designed and developed with more refuelling capacity and enhanced capabilities, improved efficiency and increased capabilities for cargo and aeromedical evacuation.
Intended to replace the Air Force’s aging tanker fleet, the KC-46A Pegasus will provide aerial refuelling support to the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as allied nation coalition aircraft.