The first Boeing [BA] KC-46A tanker built for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) refueled another KC-46A Pegasus in a test over Washington State on Aug. 9 and received fuel in return, the company said on Aug. 16.
Japan is the KC-46 program’s first non-U.S. customer and is scheduled to receive their first tanker this year, Boeing said.
The first plane for the JASDF had its maiden flight in February (Defense Daily, Feb. 10).
The aircraft is one of four tankers for JASDF approved under the Foreign Military Sales program by the State Department and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency in a notice to Congress in September 2016. In December 2017, Boeing received a contract worth up to $793 million for the four KC-46As.
The refuelers are to be equipped with the Raytheon Technologies [RTX] ALR-69A Radar Warning Receiver and Raytheon’s Miniaturized Airborne GPS Receiver (MAGR) 2000 (2K) to provide GPS Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) capability, and Northrop Grumman‘s [NOC] AN/AAQ-24(V) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system.
“The ability to carry cargo and passengers while maintaining tactical situational awareness makes the aircraft a critical tool in the security alliance between the U.S. and Japan,” Will Shaffer, president of Boeing Japan, said in a Boeing statement on Aug. 16.
The Japan KC-46A is capable of refueling U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and JASDF aircraft, the company said.
Boeing is building a second KC-46A for Japan, as well as continuing production of the U.S. Air Force KC-46As, at the company’s plant in Everett, Wash. Boeing said that its Japanese partners build 16 percent of the KC-46A airframe.