The first operational KC-46A Pegasus completed its first flight Dec. 5, 2017, and will be delivered to the U.S. Air Force next year, according to a Boeing news release.
The KC-46A’s first flight lasted approximately 3½ hours, and included a climb to the aircraft’s maximum altitude of 39,000 feet, operational checks on engines, flight controls, and environmental systems as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved flight profile.
“Today’s flight is another milestone for the Air Force/Boeing team and helps move us closer to delivering operational aircraft to the warfighter,” said Col. John Newberry, U.S. Air Force KC-46 System program manager.
The KC-46A that flew Dec. 5 is the seventh tanker in the program, but the first production-standard aircraft built for delivery to the Air Force. The previous six aircraft used for testing and certification were pre-production examples, but have accumulated more than 2200 flight hours, with the tanker-configured versions carrying out more than 1,600 contacts during refueling flights. The KC-46 fleet has so far refueled F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10, KC-10 and other KC-46 aircraft. The tanker is derived from the Boeing 767 commercial aircraft airframe.