Japan orders two more KC-46As

Boeing has been awarded a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract to deliver two additional KC-46A Pegasus aerial refuelling tankers to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), bringing the total now on contract for Japan to six.

The $398,244,094 deal, awarded on November 29 by the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), is a firm-fixed-price modification to a previous delivery order contract. Work will be performed in Everett, Washington, with completion expected on June 30, 2025. The total overall face value of the contract, including the new modification, is $1,305,430,206.

USAF + JASDF KC-46 in formation [Boeing/Kevin Flynn]
Two Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tankers - one from the JASDF (foreground) and the other from the USAF (background) - fly in formation together during a training sortie. The USAF has received 65 KC-46As to date, while the JASDF has only received two of the six ordered. Boeing/Kevin Flynn 

On October 23, 2015, Japan announced selection of the KC-46A to meet its future tanker requirements. US State Department approval for the purchase of an initial four KC-46As for the JASDF had been granted on September 21, 2016. A contract for the first of these was awarded to Boeing on December 22. 2017, covering production of the aircraft, non-recurring engineering work, integrated logistics support and airframe modifications to the Japanese FMS configuration. Boeing received a contract exercising an option for the second aircraft on December 6, 2018. A contract for the remaining two of these initial four was awarded to Boeing on October 29, 2020.

The first of the four made its maiden flight on February 8, 2020, from Everett, Washington, then was delivered to Miho Air Base on October 29, 2021, The aircraft (serial 14-3611) was delivered to Miho on a direct trans-Pacific flight after departing the previous afternoon from Boeing’s facilities in Seattle, Washington, using the US Air Force (USAF) callsign ‘REACH 46.’ This marked the first delivery of the type to a customer outside the US, all other deliveries having been to the USAF. The second (serial 24-3612) followed in February 2022. Both are now in service with the 405 Hikotai at Miho. The next two are still being prepared by Boeing.

Boeing has now delivered a total of 67 KC-46As, of which the USAF has received 65 examples and the JASDF has accepted two. On September 21, 2022, four KC-46As were also ordered by Israel.