Boeing has manufactured the first piece of the first of four ordered KC-46A for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. The long wing spar measures 25.1 m length.
Boeing has started assembling the first tanker KC-46A for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). A 25.1 meters long wing spar has been loaded within the company’s 767 production facility. Indeed, the KC-46A is a derivative of the commercial 767-2C, a proven cell into service as a passenger and freighter aircraft. Boeing delivered worldwide over 1,150,767 aircraft of the type.
The tanker is part of a FMS approved by the U.S. Department of State in 2016, allowing the Japanese government to buy four air-refueling tanker aircraft KC-46A Pegasus. At the time, the whole contract including the sale of jets, related equipment, training and support was valued $1.9 billion.
Boeing is assembling KC-46A aircraft for both the U.S. Air Force and Japan on its 767 production line in Everett. Following initial assembly, workers install the tanker’s military systems at the site’s Modification Center. The jets are then flight tested at Boeing Field prior to delivery.
Boeing began developing the KC-46A for the U.S. Air Force in 2011 and delivered the first tanker in January 2019. Japan is the program’s first international customer. Deliveries to the JASDF should begin in 2021… If the program does not suffer additional delays.
“The KC-46 will be a force multiplier in the U.S.-Japanese defense alliance, certified to refuel all U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and JASDF aircraft safely and efficiently. Built to carry passengers, cargo and patients, it will be easier to maintain than previous tankers, improving reliability and lowering life-cycle costs”, comments Boeing.
The KC-46A has suffered many problems, such as delays, raise of the program costs and lately, the aircraft has been hit by freighter and passengers transportation ban because of a problem related to the cargo bay floor.