US Air Force Approves KC-46 to Perform Limited Refueling Operations Written 14 July 2021


A KC-46A refuels a B-2 Spirit over California, April 2019. | USAF/Wikipedia; public domain

Air Force Times reported that the US Air Force “has approved the Boeing KC-46 tanker to move into limited operations with its centerline drogue system, allowing the aircraft to be tasked for everyday refueling missions that meet certain criteria.” Air Mobility Command Commander Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost said, “The last six months of operational use and programmatic evaluation indicate conditions have been met for (interim capability release) declaration of the Centerline Drogue System mission set. ... This decision reflects a risk-informed, data-driven, constraint-analyzed approach to releasing KC-46A operational capabilities to the joint force.” The Air Force “plans to declare full operational capability only after its six critical deficiencies are resolved. At earliest, this will occur in 2023 when The Boeing Company begins delivering KC-46s equipped with a new remote vision system, which provides visual imagery to boom operators during a refueling.”
Full Story (Air Force Times)