Boeing completes successful first flight of KC-46A Tanker

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio -- KC-46A Pegasus Tanker (EMD-2) made history with its first flight today at 1:24 Pacific Time from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, landing 4 hours later at Boeing Field in Seattle.

"The KC-46A will provide critical refueling capacity and enhanced capabilities to the warfighter," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. "This flight represents progress and brings us a step closer to fielding this much needed aircraft."

EMD-2 completed its maiden flight on September 25, 2015 as a KC-46A Tanker.   The KC-46A Pegasus Tanker will now begin flight testing in support of the next program milestones.    

"Today is just the first flight of many for this aircraft as we deliver these next generation tankers.  Like the KC-135 and KC-10 before it, this aircraft will be called upon for generations to come to deliver capability, whether support equipment, supplies, medical aide, or personnel.  However, its primary mission will always be to fuel the fight." said Brig. Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, Program Executive Officer for Tankers at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.  "The team at Boeing has done a remarkable job creating an entirely new aircraft that will soon become the backbone of our ability to project power anywhere in the world." 

The Air Force contracted with Boeing in February 2011 to acquire 179 KC-46A refueling tankers to begin recapitalizing the aging tanker fleet.  This flight is an important step toward meeting the Required Assets Available date -- a milestone requiring 18 KC-46A aircraft and all necessary support equipment to be on the ramp, ready to support warfighter needs by the August 2017.

"Today's flight is the call to duty for this new aircraft.  EMD-2 will be conducting the heavy lifting of testing in demonstrating the capabilities of this aircraft and leading the program down the path toward its Milestone C decision" said Col. Christopher Coombs, KC-46 System Program Manager.