Foreign military interest in the KC-46A tanker: report

Boeing plans to announce a new international buyer for the KC-46A Pegasus tanker by the end of the year as interest in using the air-to-air tanker grows among foreign militaries, a program official says. Boeing.

“There are many countries who have always been lukewarm, who have now said, “Hey, what does your line look like?

Six international military personnel have approached Boeing about buying the plane since 2020, with some interested in buying a freighter version without the refueling boom, Hafer told reporters.

However, Boeing will only sells the KC-46 in its current air-to-air refueling configuration, Aviation week reported.

A Boeing spokesperson declined to comment. FLYING regarding the specific countries that had expressed interest.

[Courtesy: Boeing]

Foreign military interest in the KC-46A arose during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Hafer told reporters.

“A lot of countries, especially in NATO, are doubling some of their defense spending, which has increased interest in all types of capabilities, all types of Boeing products,” he said, according to Breaking Defense. “We’ve seen it happen again here [in the KC-46 program] as well. … Russian aggression has boosted business. But that’s not what I wanted to stimulate business.

The KC-46A, which represents the first phase of recapitalization of its aging tanker fleet— is capable of refueling most fixed-wing aircraft that can accommodate receivers, as well as airlifting up to 65,000 pounds of cargo.

The Air Force began flying the aircraft in early 2019 and under its current contract is expected to receive 179 of the air-to-air tanker.

The tanker, which is based on the 767 airframe, can accommodate 18 standard military pallets in cargo configuration, a capacity that makes it desirable for many international militaries. In late 2017, Japan became the first international customer for the KC-46A with an order for four tankers, two of which have been delivered.

“With its ability to carry cargo and passengers, the KC-46A tanker can also support Japan’s humanitarian and disaster relief efforts,” Boeing Japan president Will Shaffer said last year.

Israel’s Defense Ministry has also signed offer and acceptance letters for four tankers, Boeing said.

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