The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) is buying three Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft from the United States. The order was announced by the Ministry of Defense in Tokyo.
“The KC-46A is the one that satisfied all the necessary requirements as new air-to-air refueling and transport equipment of the Air Self-Defense Force,” a statement reads.
The fact that Tokyo chooses the unproved KC-46 – which is still in preliminary testing in the US – over proven concepts like the Airbus A330 MRTT comes as no suprise. Airbus even dropped out of the race, because according to the European manufacturer, all perimeters were set on the KC-46. Japan already operates a small fleet of Boeing KC-767 tanker aircaft.
The Japanese order – to be put in the country’s 2016 budget – is the first export deal for the new Boeing tanker.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Boeing and the 418th Flight Test Squadron are testing the new KC-46A Pegasus. Fuel onload fatigue testing started here in 19 October 2015 is the first look at the KC-46 acting in that role. (Image © Christopher Okula / US Air Force)