Boeing team to deliver 15 KC-46 tankers, avionics, auxiliary power and integrated displays

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – US Air Force air refueling experts are asking Boeing Co. to build 15 new KC-46 Pegasus military air refueling and strategic transport aircraft under a $2.2 billion contract announced late last month.

Officials at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, are asking the Boeing Defense, Space & Security segment in Seattle to build Lot 8 of the KC-46 aircraft program. The order includes subscriptions and licenses.

The KC-46 aircraft is based on the Boeing 767-200 widebody passenger jet. The multipurpose air tanker can refuel all US, allied and coalition military aircraft that comply with international air refueling procedures. In addition to refueling other aircraft in the air, the KC-46 can also carry passengers, cargo, and medical patients.

The KC-46 aircraft can detect, avoid, defeat and survive threats using multiple layers of electronic protection that allow it to safely operate in medium-threat environments, Boeing officials say.

See Also: Boeing Names Suppliers of Electronic Subsystems for Air Force KC-46 Air Refueling Aircraft

Honeywell Aerospace, Northrop Grumman Corp. and Raytheon Technologies Corp. are among the companies supplying avionics subsystems and components for the KC-46.

Honeywell Aerospace of Coon Rapids, Minn. is providing the KC-46’s air data inertial navigation system, while the company’s Phoenix facility is providing the auxiliary power unit. Honeywell Aerospace’s facility in Tucson, Arizona will provide the KC-46’s cabin pressure control system, while the company’s facility in Urbana, Ohio will provide the tanker’s lighting system.

The Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems segment in Rolling Meadows, Illinois provides the KC-46’s Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) while the Raytheon Intelligence & Space segment in El Segundo, California provides the digital radar warning receiver and digital anti-jam global positioning System (GPS) receiver.

The Raytheon Collins Aerospace segment of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is supplying the KC-46 integrated display system with 15.1-inch liquid crystal displays based on the avionics suite for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger jet.

Related: KC-46 to be equipped with new all-digital radar warning receivers

Collins Aerospace is also supplying the KC-46’s tactical situational awareness system, 3-D and 2-D technology of the boom operator’s remote vision system, communications, navigation and surveillance (CNI) system, networking and flight control systems.

DRS Technologies Inc. Laurel Technologies Partnership of Johnstown, Pennsylvania provides the KC-46’s Airborne Refueling Station (AROS). Eaton Aerospace’s facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan will supply the tanker’s electromechanical and cargo door actuation systems.

Woodward Inc. of Skokie, Illinois, meanwhile, is supplying the sensor system, control unit, telescoping and flight control sticks for the KC-46-s in-flight refueling boom.

GE Aviation Systems’ facilities in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Clearwater, Florida provide the KC-46 Mission Control System avionics, which provide integrated communications management in support of the air traffic management data link, enabling the aircraft to operate with navigational precision at present available for the tanker fleet.

Related: Boeing selects Cobham for inert gas generation system components aboard KC-46 tanker

GE Aviation also offers the KC-46 Flight Management System (FMS), which helps the aircraft fly relatively short flight paths and idle descents to reduce fuel burn while lowering emissions and reducing engine noise.

The KC-46 will replace the Air Force’s fleet of KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft, which are based on the Boeing 707 four-engine passenger airliner of the 1960s. Boeing will build up to 179 KC-46 aircraft.

As part of this contract, Boeing will perform the work in Seattle and will be completed by November 2025. For more information, visit Boeing Defense, Space & Security online at or contact the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at www.aflcmc.

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