Boeing delivers first KC-46A tanker to Japan

Boeing has delivered the first KC-46A Pegasus tanker to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) following a 2017 Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract award for an initial aircraft, subsequently increased on options to four airframes.

The announcement is also the first time that the KC-46A tanker has been delivered to a customer outside of the US, where it has already completed 5,000 sorties in refuelling US Navy, US Air Force and US Marine Corps aircraft. The multi-role tanker carries 18 military standardised pallets in cargo configuration and can accommodate a mixed load of passengers and cargo.

Japanese KC-46A [Boeing]
The first of four Boeing KC-46A tankers for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force took to the skies for the first time on February 8, 2021. Boeing

The US Air Force and JASDF awarded Boeing a FMS contract for this first JASDF KC-46A in December 2017, exercising an option for a second in December 2018. Options for the third and fourth JASDF KC-46As were exercised in October 2020.

Boeing builds the KC-46A for the US Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and other international customers on its 767 aircraft production line in Everett, Washington. In addition, Boeing’s Japanese partners produce 16% of the KC-46A airframe structure.

The US manufacturer is currently assembling the second KC-46A for Japan and has delivered 48 KC-46As to the US Air Force, beginning with the first delivery in January 2019. The JASDF delivery was one of three KC-46A to be delivered in Q3 this year, with 11 so far handed over in 2021.

Other deliveries by Boeing of military aircraft in Q3 include four new AH-64 Apache helicopters in addition to 11 remanufactured airframes, three F-15 models, four F/A-18 models and six new CH-47 Chinooks.