The KC-46A Pegasus notched another success this week when the systems at the heart of aerial refuelling were demonstrated on EMD-2 with the deployment of both drogue systems and the boom.
On Thursday, EMD-2 successfully extended the drogue refuelling
baskets from both the Centerline Drogue System, located on the
belly of the fuselage, and from the Wing Aerial Refuelling Pods,
located on the wing tips, for probe receiver aircraft.
"The core mission of Pegasus is to fuel the fight, so deploying
the boom and drogues signals real progress toward demonstrating the
ability to pass fuel in flight," said Brig. Gen. Duke Z.
Richardson, Program Executive Officer for Tankers at the Air Force
Life Cycle Management Center. "This sets the stage for the
main act, which is hooking up to and refuelling an aircraft in
Air Force helicopters and all Navy and Marine Corps aircraft use
the hose and drogue method of refuelling. The two drogue
systems on the KC-46 -- CDS and WARPs -- pass fuel at a rate of 400
gallons per minute, and the WARPs can refuel more than one aircraft
at a time. The KC-46A is a leap forward, as it can conduct
boom and drogue refuelling on a single mission without landing to
"These capability gains are vital to the tanker mission in
support of Global Reach and Global Power providing the U.S.
military the ability to extend the range of aircraft to respond
wherever it's called to duty. This tanker will be able
to refuel any fixed wing aircraft or helicopter in the DoD fleet,
while being able to take on fuel itself," said Col. Christopher
Coombs, KC-46 System Program Manager.
The Air Force contracted with Boeing in February 2011 to acquire
179 KC-46A refueling tankers to begin recapitalising the aging
tanker fleet. The programme is currently working to meet 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 August 2017.
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