This latest contract award sees the USAF exercise its option to acquire an additional 15 KC-46As, growing the number of examples currently on order for the air arm to 128. A total of 68 KC-46As have been delivered to the USAF so far. Work on these additional 15 aircraft, which are being built as part of Production Lot 9, will be carried out at Boeing's facility in Seattle, Washington, and is slated for completion by August 31, 2026.
While the KC-46A programme has been hit by a number of deficiencies - the most serious of which being related to the platform's Remote Vision System (RVS) - the USAF's Air Mobility Command (AMC) approved the Pegasus for global operation, including combat deployments, last year. Despite the various problems facing the KC-46A's RVS, the USAF claims that these issues will be fixed by the RVS 2.0 upgrade.
Recently showing its worth, specifically in demonstrating the US Department of Defense's (DOD's) Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concept, a KC-46A completed a 42-hour flight in support of a USAF Bomber Task Force mission in the Indo-Pacific region. In 2022, the KC-46A carried out operational deployments to the European and Middle Eastern theatres, where it performed with a 95% mission-capable rate.
Built at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, the Pegasus is manufactured on the 767 production line. In addition to the 128 KC-46As on order for the USAF, ten more KC-46A tankers are on order for international customers. Boeing has so far delivered two (serials 14-3611 and 14-3612) of six to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. The Israeli Air Force has a contract for four KC-46A tankers, which are being manufactured as part of Production Lot 8 and are expected to be delivered between 2025 and 2026.