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Japan’s first KC-46A completes test refuelling flight

19th August 2021 - 17:04 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


The Japan-bound tanker recently refueled another KC-46A in the skies over Washington state. (Photo: Boeing)

The first KC-46A for a non-US customer gives and receives fuel with another KC-46A.

The first Boeing KC-46A tanker built for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) recently refuelled another KC-46A tanker, and itself received fuel from the other tanker, during a test flight in Washington state.

Japan is the KC-46 programme’s first non-US customer and is scheduled to receive its first aircraft this year.

In March 2020, the US State Department announced that it has approved a possible FMS to Israel of eight KC-46 tanker aircraft for an estimated cost of $2.4 billion, making it the second non-US customer.

The tanker 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 already in production.

The contract modification awarded to Boeing in June 2021 brought the total cumulative face value of the KC-46 contract to $898.67million.

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

The USAF will use the KC-46A to refuel joint and coalition aircraft via a boom or drogue system, and to augment the airlift fleet with cargo, passenger and aeromedical evacuation capabilities.


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