Boeing Delivers Three More KC-46s, USAF Fleet Now at 11

A KC-46A Pegasus lands May 17, 2019, at McConnell AFB, Kan. Air Force photo by A1C Alexi Myrick.

Boeing has delivered three more KC-46As to the Air Force, bringing the total number of tankers sent to the service to 11.

One tanker left Boeing Field in Seattle for McConnell AFB, Kan., May 17. McConnell, which is the first operating base for the aircraft, received the first tanker for the service in January and now has six of the aircraft.

Two more KC-46s left Boeing Field for Altus AFB, Okla., on May 18. Altus is the service’s training base for the aircraft, and now has five of tankers.

The Air Force began receiving the aircraft again last month after the second delivery pause due to foreign object debris found onboard. The problem began in March, with the first two-week pause in deliveries.

Since then, Boeing has proposed a new plan for in-depth reinspection of the delivered jets and those still at the production and delivery facilities. These inspections include going into closed compartments such as fuel tanks, requiring the aircraft to return to Boeing facilities to be cleared.

“I’m very satisfied that they’ve treated this seriously,” Will Roper, the service’s assistant secretary for acquisition, told reporters last month.

Boeing has said it expects to deliver 36 aircraft this year. The service expects to eventually field 179 of the aircraft.

Earlier this month, a KC-46 from McConnell conducted the first operational refueling. On May 7, the tanker, in formation with a KC-10, offloaded 30,000 pounds of fuel to four F-16s that were flying to an exercise in Alaska.