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Defence Notes

Air Mobility Command approves KC-46 Centreline Drogue System

19th July 2021 - 10:46 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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KC-46A aircrew refuel a US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet (Photo: US Navy)

US Air Mobility Command has chalked up a new capability milestone for the KC-46A Pegasus.

US Air Mobility Command (AMC) has approved the Centreline Drogue System on the KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft as the first Interim Capability Release (ICR) to meet joint force air requirements.

The move follows six months of operational use of the system and programmatic evaluation and will increase capacity for tanker fleet requirements.

The ICR plan was originally announced in February 2021 to support AMC in its bid to look for ways to meet the joint force’s extensive aerial refuelling requirements, alongside the USAF progressing with tanker recapitalisation and divestiture efforts.

The USAF will continue to conduct boom air refuelling with fighter, bomber and transport aircraft for training, exercise, demonstration and familiarisation missions before formally making the capability operational.

The ICR concept provides a data-driven approach to certify these capabilities incrementally as the effort moves towards FOC.

‘ICR codifies for operational use what we’re already executing daily as the KC-46A makes progress on its initial operational test and evaluation, or IOT&E, plan,’ said Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, commander of Air Mobility Command in a July 14 statement. 

She had also previously revealed that there is no timeline associated with the ICR plan, which instead focuses on establishing confidence measures that allows her and other senior leaders to assess ICR achievements.

FOC for ICR is however considered to still be years away.

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