KC-46A Pegasus achieves Milestone C
The approval required completion of several aerial refuelling demonstrations, including refuelling the F-16 Fighting Falcon, C-17 Globemaster III and A-10 Thunderbolt II with the boom; and an AV-8 Harrier II and F/A-18 Hornet with both hose and drogue systems. The aircraft also proved its receiver capability by taking fuel from a KC-10 Extender.
The US Air Force will now award Boeing two low rate initial production lots, totalling 19 aircraft, and associated spare parts, for a pre-negotiated $2.8 billion combined value. A total of 18 tankers are planned to be delivered by early 2018.
The programme will now see the KC-46 complete a schedule of Federal Aviation Administration and military certification flight testing, including refuelling test flights, in order to achieve certification for aircraft in the Air Force and Department of Defense inventory.
The Milestone C approval comes after delays in the flight test programme due to higher-than-expected axial loads in the boom. The challenge was resolved by hydraulic pressure relief valves that were installed to alleviate loads, and the remaining demonstrations were completed in July 2016.
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