US Air Force KC-46A Performs First Operationally-tasked Combat Refueling Sortie
Roughly 100 Airmen and 4 KC-46A Pegasus plane performed 24-hour operations throughout Air Mobility Command’s multi-week Employment Idea Train 22-08 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, from August 27 by way of mid-September, 2022. Airmen from the twenty second Air Refueling Wing and 931st Air Refueling Wing participated within the ECE, working in two groups to function around-the-clock, testing the KC-46A’s potential to assist real-world missions and assess its capabilities on the trail to full-operational standing. On Aug. 29, the KC-46A Pegasus accomplished its first operationally-tasked fight sortie, refueling two F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. All 4 plane operated out of Al Udeid Air Base, with three of the KC-46As targeted on finishing aerial refueling missions and a fourth plane on alert within the occasion of a grounded plane, concurrently testing the boundaries of the plane within the excessive desert local weather. Throughout their time at Al Udeid Air Base, leaders from Ninth Air Pressure (Air Forces Central), 379th Air Expeditionary Wing and a wide range of different squadrons from across the base visited the Air Pressure’s latest air refueling platform.
“This was my first time flying on the KC-46 and seeing it in motion was very spectacular. The onboard methods present nice situational consciousness of the encircling space to the crew, and watching the growth operator accomplish air refueling utilizing the distant imaginative and prescient system was equally spectacular,” stated Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Nelson, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing commander.
“The CENTCOM ECE allowed us to stress-test the KC-46A in an excessive desert setting whereas finishing operational missions in assist of a combatant command. The ECEs, coupled with ICR, mirror a risk-informed, data-driven, constraint-analyzed method to releasing KC-46A operational capabilities to the Joint Pressure. This ECE gave AMC precious knowledge wanted to satisfy aircraft-turn occasions, upkeep necessities, and engineering tendencies, and supplied output for air refueling as wanted whereas we continued to refine the plane efficiency parameters. It additionally allowed AMC to achieve a deeper understanding of how greatest to make use of and deploy the KC-46A in future operations,” stated Lt. Col. Josh Renfro, AMC KC-46 Cross-Useful Workforce deputy.
Employment Idea Workout routines are a subset of the KC-46A Interim Functionality Launch plan that permits AMC to make use of the KC-46A in several situations for additional operational employment testing and analysis. The ECEs permit AMC to quickly collect actionable knowledge on the KC-46A’s efficiency in numerous situations, rising operational functionality to the tanker fleet necessities and elevated tanker capability. Over the previous 16 months, the KC-46A has demonstrated rising operational capability at a swift tempo. In Might 2021, the KC-46A was not cleared to operationally assist any U.S. Transportation Command missions. By means of the Interim Functionality Launch plan and devoted work by members of the rising KC-46A group, the KC-46A is now cleared for worldwide deployments to satisfy the each day Joint Pressure air refueling calls for as tasked by U.S. Transportation Command.
The Boeing KC-46 Pegasus is an American navy aerial refueling and strategic navy transport plane developed by Boeing from its 767 jet airliner. In February 2011, the tanker was chosen by the USA Air Pressure (USAF) because the winner within the KC-X tanker competitors to exchange older Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers. The KC-46 Pegasus is a variant of the Boeing 767 and is a widebody, low-wing cantilever monoplane with a traditional empennage that includes a single fin and rudder. It has a retractable tricycle touchdown gear and a hydraulic flight management system. The Pegasus is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW4062 engines, one mounted below every wing. It has been described as combining “the 767-200ER’s fuselage, with the 767-300F’s wing, gear, cargo door and flooring, with the 767-400ER digital flightdeck and flaps”. Survivability is improved with infrared countermeasures and the plane has restricted digital warfare capabilities. On the rear of the plane is a fly-by-wire refueling growth supplemented by wing air refueling pods at every wingtip and a centerline drogue system below the rear fuselage so it will probably deal with each varieties of refueling in a single mission.
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