Boeing KC-46's initial wet contact F-16 (Image © Boeing)

New KC-46 tanker suffers from too much stress

The US Air Force’s future tanker aircraft, the Boeing KC-46A Pegagus, suffers from too much stress – both literally and figuratively. While testing fuel transfer to a Boeing C-17A Globemaster III airlifter, the refuelling boom experienced a higher axial load then expected. This could lead to damage or worse.

Boeing sources have confirmed they are “looking into the issue and solve the problem”, but the physical stress on the aircraft’s premier tool comes shortly ahead of a possible decision for low-rate production (LRIP) of the tanker.

18 KC-46s

The Pentagon takes a decision in May on whether to give Boeing the green light to produce and deliver the first 18 KC-46As to the US Air Force by August 2017. The aircraft manufacturer thinks to have solved the stress-on-boom-issue this month to safeguard the LRIP and is confident that it will meet the delivery demands.

Problems are not new to the project, where technicians earlier had to fix basic fuel issues.

Export customers

The KC-46 is also purchased by Japan, while Israel wants 6 to 8 of the new tanker aircraft.

© 2016 editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Boeing KC-46’s initial wet contact F-16 (Image © Boeing)