Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

July 22, 2016 at 11:37am

KC-46 completes flight tests

A KC-46 Pegasus refuels an A-10 Thunderbolt II with 1,500 pounds of fuel July 15, 2016. The mission was the last of all flight tests required for the tanker’s Milestone C production decision. Boeing photo/John D. Parker

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The KC-46 Pegasus program completed all flight tests required for the Milestone C production decision July 15 by offloading 1,500 pounds of fuel to an A-10 Thunderbolt II.

The successful A-10 mission was the last of six in-flight refueling demonstrations required before the tanker program can request approval from Frank Kendall, the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, to award production Lots 1 and 2, totaling 19 KC-46A aircraft.

"It is great to see the KC-46 boom back in action and the program moving forward to a production decision" said Col. John Newberry, the KC-46 system program manager.

The other five required air refueling demonstrations were with the C-17 Globemaster III and F-16 Fighting Falcon using the air refueling boom, the Navy's F-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier II using the centerline and wing drogue systems, and the KC-46 as a receiver aircraft.

"Today's flight marks the final step we needed to see on the boom fix in order to request production go-ahead," said Brig. Gen. Duke Richardson, the Air Force program executive officer for tankers. "Our joint team's tireless efforts are paying off, preparing us for the next step of this critical need to our warfighter."

This test would not have been possible without contributions from the 412th Test Wing, 23rd Fighter Wing, 355th FW, 124th FW, 896th Test Support Squadron and 40th Flight Test Squadron, which all provided aircraft, manpower and equipment.

The Milestone C decision to begin low-rate initial production is expected in August.

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