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JASDF KC-46A Tanker First Refuelling Flight

The Japan-bound tanker recently refuelled another KC-46A in the skies over Washington state [© Boeing: Kevin Flynn]

Boeing has announced the first JASDF (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) KC-46A Tanker has completed its first refuelling flight.

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Press Release, Everett, 16 August 2021: The first Boeing KC-46A tanker built for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) recently refuelled another KC-46A aircraft in the skies over Washington state. The Japan-bound tanker also successfully received fuel in return.

“Refuelling with the first Japan KC-46A is an important milestone for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force,” said Jamie Burgess, KC-46 programme manager. “KC-46A is the world’s most advanced air refuelling aircraft and has already transferred more than 42 million gallons of fuel to other aircraft globally through its boom and drogue systems.”

The Japan-bound tanker recently refuelled another KC-46A in the skies over Washington state
[© Boeing: Kevin Flynn]

Japan is the KC-46 programme’s first non-US customer and is scheduled to receive its first aircraft this year.

“State-of-the-art refuelling makes the KC-46A a stand-out, but this tanker goes well beyond that,” said Will Shaffer, president of Boeing Japan. “The ability to carry cargo and passengers while maintaining tactical situational awareness makes the aircraft a critical tool in the security alliance between the US and Japan.”

The Japan KC-46A is capable of refuelling US Air Force, US Navy, US Marine Corps and JASDF aircraft.

The US Air Force awarded Boeing a contract for the JASDF’s first KC-46A tanker in December 2017. The agreement was completed through the Foreign Military Sale process between the US government and Japan. A second Japan tanker is already in production.

Boeing is assembling the KC-46A aircraft for both the US Air Force and Japan on its 767 production line in Everett, Washington. Boeing’s Japanese partners produce 16% of the KC-46A airframe structure.

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