July 12, 2016: Pegasus Refuels Globemaster III

  • Published
  • Air Force Test Center

The KC-46 Pegasus tanker aircraft successfully off-loaded fuel to a C-17A Globemaster III cargo receiver aircraft.

In July 2015, Boeing announced that it had taken a further $835 million pretax charge to pay for redesigns and retrofits required to address a faulty integrated fuel system. A Boeing spokesperson stated that “in preparing for and performing fuel system qualification testing, we identified a number of fuel system parts and components that did not meet specifications and needed to be redesigned. We're adding the engineers and ancillary staff resources needed to support the engineering redesign, manufacturing retrofit and qualification and certification of the fuel system changes, and the conclusion of functional and flight testing."  Boeing may have to wait an extra eight months for $3 billion in contracts on the KC-46 because of delays caused by the wiring and fuel system parts flaws, according to Air Force officials Low-rate production contracts to build the first 19 of the tankers may be delayed from August to as late as April 2016 in the latest schedule revision agreed on by the Air Force and Boeing.  The planned first flight of a fully equipped Pegasus is being delayed to as late as September 2015. Air Force Spokesman, Charles Gulick, noted that the primary goal, "delivery of 18 tankers by August 2017" can be met.  The Bank of America, /Merrill Lynch, noted in July 2015 “We fail to understand how Boeing could take a $1.26 billion pre-tax charge (since it won the contract over Airbus) on the Boeing Pegasus program since the program is based on the 767 airframe that has been in production for over 30 years.”

On January 24, 2016, the KC-46 successfully refueled an aircraft for the first time during a 5-hour 36 minute sortie just over the shared coast of Washington state and Oregon. This refueling was with an F-16. Next the KC-46 was to test refueling a number of other military aircraft, including a C-17, F/A-18, A-10, and AV-8B.  On February 10, a test KC-46 refueled a F/A-18 in the first via its probe and drogue system.

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