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Boeing gets $398M for two more KC-46A Pegasus tankers for Japan

A Japan Air Self Defence Force KC-46 flies with a US Air Force KC-46. Photo: Boeing

The US Air Force has awarded Boeing a $398 million contract to deliver two additional KC-46A Pegasus tankers to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).

The contract award from November 29 brings the total number of Pegasus tankers on contract for Japan to six. Boeing delivered the first KC-46A tanker to Japan in October 2021, and a second in February 2022.

Boeing received the contract modification for Japan after the air force placed a $3.1 billion contract with the company for the delivery of KC-46A Pegasus tankers to the air forces of the United States and Israel in September this year. A $2.2 billion contract for the US Air Force will see the company deliver 15 Lot 8 tankers by November 2025, while $927.5 million was allocated for the delivery of four KC-46A tankers to Israel.

“The unmatched versatility and multi-mission capabilities of the KC-46A tanker further support JASDF’s air mobility mission,” said James Burgess, vice president and KC-46 program manager. “The growing global KC-46A fleet increases the interoperability advantages for our customers, ensuring mission readiness as well as value for their investment.”

Boeing says the Pegasus has flown more than 10,000 sorties and is delivering millions of pounds of fuel every month to allied forces around the globe. In addition to refueling, the KC-46A delivers multi-mission capabilities, including data connectivity and personnel, cargo and aeromedical transportation.

This summer, the US Air Force cleared the tanker to refuel 97 percent of the daily Joint Force aircraft fleet in a gradual increase of operational capability for the airframe, which still has some issues to fix, including the remote vision system

“This additional KC-46A acquisition reinforces the US-Japan security alliance to support security and stability throughout the Pacific region,” said Will Shaffer, president of Boeing Japan. “Boeing is proud of our enduring partnership with Japan, and we look forward to supporting the nation’s KC-46A fleet that will fly for decades to come.”

Boeing has so far delivered 67 KC-46A tankers, including 65 to the US Air Force and two to Japan.