Boeing KC-46 Pegasus

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Product Type:
Aerial Refueling Tanker

Using Service (US):
Air Force (USAF)

Program Status:
First LRIP delivery in 2019.

Prime Contractor:
The Boeing Company

The Boeing KC-46A Tanker

About the KC-46 Tanker:

By Forecast International /// The following is a snapshot of the KC-46 Tanker program. For complete data and a forecast outlook, please view our Military Aircraft Forecast


The Boeing KC-46A Pegasus is a wide-body, multi-mission tanker aircraft designed to replace the aging U.S. Air Force fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers, which has been the primary refueling aircraft for more than 50 years. With more refueling capacity and enhanced capabilities, improved efficiency and increased capabilities for cargo and aeromedical evacuation, the KC-46A will provide aerial refueling support to Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and allied aircraft.

Replacement of the legacy KC-135 and KC-10 tanker fleet will take place in three stages, known as the KC-X (now the KC-46), KC-Y, and the KC-Z. The KC-46 increment will replace roughly a third of the current capability. Future KC-Y and KC-Z programs will ultimately recapitalize the entire tanker fleet over a period of more than 30 years.

The aircraft is based on Boeing's 767-200ER commercial platform and is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW4062 high-bypass turbofan engines, each providing 62,000 pounds of thrust. The KC-46A has a maximum takeoff gross weight (MTOW) of 415,000 pounds. The KC-46 has a maximum fuel capacity of 212,000 pounds. The aircraft has a crew of 15, including the pilot, co-pilot, refueling operator, boom operator, aerial refueling instructor, and aeromedical evacuation aircrew. The KC-46 is capable of transporting up to 114 passengers or 58 patients.

The KC-46 has a cargo deck above the refueling system, which can accommodate a mixed load of passengers, patients and cargo. The KC-46A can carry up to 18 463L standard cargo pallets. Seat tracks and the onboard cargo handling system make it possible to simultaneously carry palletized cargo, passengers, and patient support pallets in a variety of different combinations. Compared to the KC-135 Stratotanker, the KC-46 offers significantly increased cargo and aeromedical evacuation capabilities.

The KC-46 is equipped with the latest and most advanced technology, including a digital flight deck with the same large 15-inch electronic displays as on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The aircraft is equipped with the Raytheon AN/ALR-69A(V) Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) and the Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-24(V) Directional Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM) system. The KC-46A will be able to refuel any fixed-wing receiver-capable aircraft.

The KC-X Program, the first phase of KC-135 recapitalization, will purchase 179 aircraft to replace roughly one third of the current KC-135 tanker fleet. Boeing builds and assembles the KC-46 at facilities in Everett, Washington and Wichita, Kansas. On June 26, 2013, production of the first test aircraft commenced in Everett.

On February 24, 2011, Boeing was awarded a contract for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the KC-X program. The contract calls for Boeing to design, develop, manufacture and deliver 18 initial combat-ready aircraft by August 2017. Due to delays in the development phase, Boeing may be unable to deliver all 18 aircraft on time.



KC-46 Production Forecast:

A 15-year KC-46 production forecast is available through Forecast International's Platinum Forecast System, which includes a breakout of total market unit and value statistics by manufacturer and end-user. This real-time service also includes information on all prime and subcontractors, contract awards, worldwide inventories, a complete program history, and a rationale detailing the outlook of the program. A 10-year KC-46 production forecast is also available in report format through Forecast International's Military Aircraft Forecast service.


The KC-46 will meet the primary air refueling missions of global attack, air bridge, theater support, deployment, and special operations support. Air refueling forces perform these missions at the strategic, operational, and tactical level across the entire spectrum of military operations. Other missions include emergency air refueling, aero medical evacuation, and combat search and rescue.

FY 2021 & FY 2022 - KC-46 DoD Program:

This data is available in Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, a comprehensive analytical database containing historical and forecast budget figures, year-to-year funding comparisons, congressional budget markups, program justification documents, and much more.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), The Boeing Company,
Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Pratt & Whitney.

Military Aircraft Forecast:

Complete and detailed information, including production forecast data, is provided in our Market Intelligence Service: Military Aircraft Forecast.

Forecast International Budget Data:

With Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, you not only get the latest program news, the DoD funding, worldwide inventories and planned quantities, long range forecasts, but most important – an expert's rationale for all programs and the overall market.

DoD Spending in FY 2018, FY 2019, FY 2020, FY 2021 and FY 2022 + 5-year forecast

Platinum Forecast System:

Military Aircraft Forecast
Military Aircraft Forecast
Forecast International - Platinum Forecast System

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