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KC-46 RVS research to continue at McConnell

22 ARW, KC-46, McConnell AFB

Master Sgt. Chris Hughes, 22nd Maintenance Squadron hydraulics craftsman, and Staff Sgt. Jamie Berridy, 22nd MXS electrical environmental craftsman, watch as a KC-46A Pegasus boom extends for an acceptance inspection Feb. 14, 2019, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Along with the boom, the KC-46 can be equipped with wing aerial refueling pods, which gives the aircraft the capability to perform multi-point, simultaneous aerial refueling. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alan Ricker)


A team from the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is scheduled to conduct tests for the KC-46A Pegasus Remote Visual System later this month.

Dr. Steve Hadley, 711th HPW Operational Based Vision Assessment Laboratory lead, explained that the plan is to have results from the research within three weeks of testing. The system being researched allows boom operators to conduct aerial refueling with the use of a camera and 3-D technology.

Teams are continuously conducting RVS research to help resolve vision complications correlated with the KC-46. Boom operators from multiple installations involved with the KC-46’s introduction have been cooperating with studies that will help refine the RVS. Hadley said that the research conducted here will help finalize some of the last critical factors and data needed for improvements. The McConnell Airmen involved will play an important role in improving the RVS.

“It’s critical that we’re here working with them since they were the first base to receive the KC-46,” said Hadley. “They’re the most experienced booms right now.”

An estimated 20-plus boom operators from the 344th Air Refueling Squadron will be participating in the study.

“Our Airmen are working hard in IOT&E and this research is another way we can set up future operators for success,” said Senior Master Sgt. Lindsay Moon, 344th Air Refueling Squadron Superintendent.

Staff Sgt. Devaughn Granger, 344th ARS boom operator, mentioned that he participated in the testing a year ago when they were deciding which upgrades or changes to the RVS will make the biggest impact. Now the team is expanding their research and gathering additional information that will help the Air Force decide what specific improvements are needed to be implemented to the RVS. Data collected for suggested visual enhancements on the system will also enhance the boom operators’ wellbeing and ability to execute the KC-46 mission in multiple environments.

“Every commander says safety is paramount for everything,” said Hadley.

The goal of the OBVA Lab team is to effectively and safely gather enough data to provide recommendations to higher leadership, which, with McConnell’s help, can improve the operators’ and aircraft’s ability to perform aerial refueling.