A further milestone in the US Air Force KC-46A Pegasus programme has been reached with delivery of the first two aircraft to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB MDL), New Jersey, for the 305th and 514th Air Mobility Wings (AMWs). These were the 49th and 50th KC-46A deliveries.
The aircraft, serial numbers 19-46057 (callsign ‘PUDGY 01’) and 19-46060 (‘PUDGY 02’), arrived at the base on November 9 from Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington. The callsigns pay homage to Lockheed P-38 Lightning ‘Pudgy’ which was flown by Major Thomas B McGuire (who the base was named after) during World War Two.
The aircraft were delivered by USAF Maj Gen Mark Camerer, USAF Expeditionary Center commander, and Brig Gen Neil Richardson, Air Mobility Command’s Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration Operations deputy director. They will be operated and maintained by the 305th and 514th AMWs and will receive installation support from the 87th Air Base Wing.
Col Scott Wiederholt, 305th AMW commander said: “The arrival of the KC-46 at JB MDL signifies the continuation of a great tradition of air refuelling in the 305th and 514th Air Mobility Wings. A tradition underscored by a strategically located installation that is postured to provide increased and enduring capabilities to execute our nation’s most important missions. The KC-46 is now part of an impressive lineage of aircraft and great aviators.”
Selection of JB MDL as a preferred location to receive the KC-46A was announced on January 12, 2017, by the Secretary of the Air Force. The installation, with co-located operations between active and reserve components, expects to receive 15 additional aircraft during Fiscal Year 2022, with nine more planned for Fiscal Year 2023.
The KC-46 maintains a leading-edge air-to-air refuelling capability via being able to refuel receivers via both boom and drogue systems. This allows simultaneous air refuelling for multiple aircraft. As well as its refuelling capabilities, the KC-46 is designed to provide multifunctional support such as, passenger and cargo transport and medical and humanitarian relief.