Boeing KC-46 Pegasus

The Boeing KC -46 is a toy in the development tanker aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, to replace based on the Boeing 767 -2C the obsolete KC -135 machines.

History of development

First plans

The origins of the KC -46 can be in the time after the end of the Cold War to trace. In the 1990s, for the first time more concrete considerations to replace the aging KC -135 fleet in the U.S. Air Force. The U.S. General Accounting Office recommended in a 1996 study, continue to renew because the operating and maintenance costs rise and the technical problems of the now 35 -year-old aircraft would increase in the near future. The U.S. Air Force looked after its own investigation in 2001 ( KC -135 Economic Service Life Study ) but no need to hurry, because the structural life expectancy of 36,000 flying hours in the KC- 135E and 39,000 in the KC- 135R until well into the 2040 was rich and therefore wait with the purchase of new tanker aircraft by 2012.

KC -767

As Boeing the USAF also in 2001 modified B767- 200ER offered as a tanker, waved to the Air Force. It was planned to lease 100 KC -767 for a period of six years for around 25 billion U.S. dollars, with a purchase option at the end of the lease period, the redemption would have increased to about $ 30 billion the total cost. The first four aircraft were to be delivered from 2006, the last 20 in 2011. You should gradually replace the oldest KC- 135E 133 models.

This unusual business model, possibly to high costs and the change of opinion of the Air Force were subsequently the subject of several hearings in the U.S. Congress and in the Senate. As a compromise, the Congress for the financial year 2004 approved the lease of 20 and the purchase of up to 80 KC- 767th There, however, did not come, partly because Darleen A. Druyun, a senior staff in the procurement department of the USAF, had negotiated with Boeing a highly doped for items that, while they did not engage in the supervision of the tanker business simultaneously. Druyun was sentenced to nine months in prison on 1 October 2004 for unlawful preference for Boeing. Even CFO Michael M. Sears and CEO Philip M. Condit of Boeing was later convicted of corruption and fraud. Boeing had to pay a fine of 615 million U.S. $. In addition, in February 2005, several leading members of the U.S. Department of Defense were accused advertised for the leasing model in an improper way and to have the state of the KC -135 fleet knowingly presented false. Subsequently, the Congress stopped the KC -767 program provisionally before Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld explained it ended in January 2006 for final.


Meanwhile claimed the U.S. forces by the ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the tanker stronger than anticipated, so that their renewal appeared all the more urgent. For the U.S. Air Force this project now has become increasingly important and is available in October 2006 at the top of the priority list.

With the publication of a Request (Request for Information, RFI) began on 25 April 2006 formally the second attempt to modernize the tanker fleet, named KC -135 Tanker Replacement Program (KC -X). On September 25, the first draft for a Call Request for Proposal ( RFP), in which the requirements for future tanker aircraft of the USAF are held followed. It is planned to procure 179 KC -X. They are like the KC -135 and KC -10 can also be used as transport aircraft for cargo and troops, through modern technology but its much more flexible and powerful than its predecessor.

The final version of the RFP was originally published on 15 December 2006, on December 6, the Air Force moved the release date to the end of January 2007 in order to have more time for changes. The tender dossier is finally published on 30 January 2007. Interested parties had until April 12 to submit their proposals. The only candidates were Boeing and Northrop Grumman, both gave their offers on 10 April 2007 and revised up to January 3, 2008 several times. Boeing competed again with its KC- 767th End of September 2006 brought the manufacturer meantime the B777 as a KC -777 into play, being used to provide a larger aircraft can. In mid-February 2007, however, Boeing chose the KC -767 Advanced Tanker fielding, which should ( Long Range Freighter ) based this time on the new freighter version B767- 200LRFs, the cockpit avionics from Boeing is derived 787 and the tank probe represents a revised model of the KC -10 Extender. Northrop Grumman offered in collaboration with the European EADS to a tanker aircraft based on the Airbus A330- 200, which should be produced in Mobile, Alabama, and was provisionally named KC -30. The Air Force did in November 2006, the designation KC -45A Tanker for the new book.

On 29 February 2008 the Air Force Northrop Grumman announced as the winner of the competition. Mass production would thus be able to start in 2010 and initial operational readiness of the KC -45A would have been reached in 2013. However, Boeing laid on 11 March 2008 the U.S. Court Government Accountability Office (GAO ) protest against this decision, which upheld this on June 18. The GAO therefore recommended to restart the bidding process with the two previous bidders. The then rebooted bidding process was provisionally canceled by the Pentagon on 10 September 2008. Thus, the successor for the KC -135 further delayed initially.

In February 2011, the Pentagon announced finally that after evaluation of bids then the design of Boeing, the future KC- 46A, is to come to train. The decisive factor for the offer of Boeing were the low acquisition and maintenance costs, which could offset the low tank capacity compared to the KC -45.

The KC- X program has an estimated volume of 35 billion U.S. dollars and covers the renewal of one third of the approximately 600 tankers of the U.S. Air Force, the replacement of the remaining aircraft to be made by the following programs KC -Y and KC -Z. Even in the ordinary course of the last KC -135 remained in service until about 2043 and then would be over 80 years of service.

The final KC- 46A based on the new freighter 767 -2C, which is a variant of the 767 -200ER to be. This aircraft is extended to 2 m and has an increased maximum total weight of just over 188,000 kg on. Other elements are the cargo floor and a side cargo door, a display system, which is based on the 787, auxiliary tanks and preparations for the buildings of the refueling devices on the wing ( probe and drogue ) and under the tail ( Tankausausleger ).

The so-called "Critical Design Review " in the summer of 2013, introduced in this period, the U.S. Air Force Detachment 1 of the 418th Flight Test Squadron (FTS ) at Boeing Field on.

Technical data