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Japan receives its first KC-46A

1st November 2021 - 12:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The first KC-46A for the JASDF, pictured being rolled out by Boeing in September 2020. (Photo: Boeing)

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force becomes the first non-US recipient of the KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft.

Boeing has delivered the first of four KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft on order from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).

This marked the first delivery of a KC-46A to a non-US customer, the aircraft manufacturer announced on 31 October.

James Burgess, Boeing VP and manager of the KC-46 programme, said:  ‘We are looking forward to decades of partnership with our Japan customer to ensure aircraft mission effectiveness and enable the success of the JASDF.’

The aircraft is mostly built in the US at the Boeing 767 production line in Everett, Washington, although Japanese companies produce 16% of the airframe structure.

The KC-46A is capable of refuelling USAF, USN, USMC and JASDF aircraft.

The USAF initially awarded Boeing a contract for the JASDF’s first KC-46A tanker in December 2017 and a second Japanese tanker is being assembled. Options for a third and fourth JASDF KC-46A were exercised in October 2020.

According to Shephard Defence Insight, the KC-46As will join the JASDF’s current fleet of four KC-767J tankers.

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