Military Aviation

Boeing’s KC-46A program completes receiver certification testing for B-52, F/A-18

Trials to refuel the F-15 will soon commence

Boeing’s KC-46A aerial refueling tanker has been cleared to refuel the B-52 bomber and F/A-18.

Trials to refuel the F-15 will soon commence.

While the additional receiver certifications aren’t needed for the company to make its first delivery of the tanker to the U.S. Air Force (USAF), a Boeing spokesperson says they are in preparation for the start of Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) work next year.

In fact as told by Wichita Business Journal, previously completed receiver certifications involving the F-16 fighter jet, C-17 Globemaster and KC-135 tanker cleared the minimum requirement for delivery.

As we have recently reported Boeing will deliver the first Boeing KC-46A to the USAF on Nov. 16 when the jet is is expected to arrived at McConnell Air Force Base (AFB).

However that date is being used only for planning purposes and remains subject to change. The USAF has not yet announced a firm delivery date.

McConnell will eventually be home to 36 of the 179 tankers that Boeing plans to build for the service.

The KC-46A tanker modernization program is among the Air Force’s highest acquisition priorities. Being able to refuel military aircraft in the air is critical to the U.S. military’s ability to effectively operate globally. The Air Force initiated the KC-46 program to replace about a third of its aging KC-135 Stratotanker fleet.

Boeing previously missed a forecast that the aircraft would be delivered last year, as the planemaker was trying to get airworthiness certifications and complete a flight test program.

The KC-46A Pegasus is designed to provide improved capability, including boom and drogue refueling on the same sortie; worldwide navigation and communication; airlift capability on the entire main deck floor; receiver air refueling; improved force protection and survivability; and multi-point air refueling capability.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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