The US Air Force (USAF) has completed all flight testing on the KC-46A Pegasus military aerial refuelling aircraft, reaching a major milestone for the tanker’s delivery in October.
The Boeing-built tanker has concluded its military type and receiver certification testing with the USAF’s KC-135, F-16 and C-17 aircraft.
Boeing KC-46A Tanker vice-president and programme manager Mike Gibbons said: “This is a significant achievement for the Boeing airforce team and continues us on our path to first delivery in October.”
Having commenced in April, receiver certification testing was carried out from Boeing Field in Seattle, US, and Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California, US.
During the trial, the KC-46A Pegasus and the receiver jet travelled at different airspeeds, altitudes and configurations to demonstrate compatibility and performance throughout each receiver’s refuelling process.
In April, the Pegasus test team completed supplemental type certificate flight testing on the tanker.
Once deployed into service with the USAF, the KC-46 aircraft will be capable of refuelling military aircraft using its hose and drogue, and boom systems.
The boom enables the aircraft to transfer up to 1,200 gallons of fuel every minute, while the hose and drogue systems allow the tanker to refuel smaller aircraft with up to 400 gallons of fuel a minute.
In addition, the tanker needs to be able to take on fuel in order to extend its operational range.
Currently, Boeing is on contract for the delivery of the first 34 of the 179 KC-46A Pegasus tankers to the USAF.
The KC-46s are being developed at the company’s manufacturing facility in Everett, Washington, US.
The KC-46A multirole tanker has been designed to refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refuelling procedures, along with being capable of carrying passengers, cargo, and patients.