Boeing to build two more KC-46As for Japan

The US Air Force (USAF) contracted Boeing to build and deliver an additional two KC-46A Pegasus tanker/transports for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) on October 29.

Boeing was awarded the US$342.1m firm-fixed-price contract modification through the US’ Foreign Military Sale (FMS) process and exercises an option to produce Japan’s third and fourth KC-46A. Contract work to build the additional two aircraft will be performed at the company’s facility in Everett, Washington, and is expected to be completed on June 30, 2023. The JASDF’s first KC-46A Pegasus is scheduled to be delivered in 2021.

Will Shaffer, president of Boeing Japan, said: “This order further enhances our enduring partnership with Japan. The KC-46 will be an unparalleled asset to Japan’s air mobility fleet for decades to come.”

KC-46A [USAF/Louis Briscese]
In total, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) will receive four Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker/transports, with the first example scheduled to be delivered next year. USAF/Louis Briscese

Boeing was awarded the initial FMS contract for Japan’s first Pegasus aircraft, along with associated equipment and logistics services in December 2017. The contract came after the Japan Ministry of Defense (MOD) selected the platform in its KC-X aerial refuelling competition. In December 2018, Boeing was contracted to produce and deliver Japan’s second KC-46A.

Col Jason Lindsey, the USAF’s KC-46 System programme manager, added: “Japan’s new tankers will play an invaluable role in the security alliance between our two countries.”

Boeing describes the KC-46 as a “force multiplier in the US-Japanese defence alliance” as it can refuel all US, allied and coalition military aircraft that are compatible with international aerial refuelling procedures. The platform can be used solely as a tanker aircraft or can transport cargo, passengers and medical patients globally.