Boeing KC-46 Pegasus: Tanker of the Future


Boeing Aircraft

As the KC-135 Stratotanker is getting more and more outdated, Boeing has found a new tanker to use. Boeing is introducing the KC-46 Pegasus tanker which will be used to help the US Air Force during warfare. Not only will it help the US Air Force, but it will also help foreign allies. This tanker is expected to be in working condition by 2018.

The KC-X program is funded by a contract that is nearly $35 billion. This contract, which was issued in January 2007, asks for aircraft manufacturers to provide the military with over 170 tankers. Aircraft manufacturers including Airbus and Northrop Grumman where bidding together for the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport project. It was Northrop Grumman who was chosen in February 2008.

The KC-46 took a while to develop as there were multiple delays and increases in raw materials as the delays took time. In 2011, the cost cap was $4.9 billion, however, the KC-46 development was $300 million over this amount. By 2014, the cost cap increased to $5.85 billion. In 2015, the cost cap sky rocketed to $43.16 billion.

The first KC-46 began to be manufactured in late June 2013 however the first test flight occurred two years later in late September 2015. The KC-46 has a length of 50.4 meters, wingspans of 48.1 meters, and height of 15.9 meters. It has an empty weight of 181,610 lbs and a maximum take-off weight 415,000. It has a thrust of 2 x 63,000 lbs and fuel capacity of 212,300 lbs. The KC-46 uses two Pratt & Whitney PW4062 allowing for a maximum speed of 650 mph and cruise speed of 530 mph. It also has a range of 6,385 nautical miles and can hold up to 114 people, 18 cargo pallets, and 58 patients. There can be 3 crew members: 2 pilots and 1 boom operator.

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