The KC-46 is a commercial derivative based on the Boeing
767-200, said Col. Shaun Morris, the KC-46 System
program manager. When a new 767-2C is completed in the
Boeing factory in Everett, Wash., it will be flown to
Boeing facility in Puget Sound to complete the military
modification that turns it into a KC-46.
The aircraft brings a wide range of new capabilities to
the warfighter. It is 15 to 20 percent larger than the
KC-135 and can carry 58 passengers, 54 aeromedical
patients and 18 cargo pallets -- all substantially more
than the legacy aircraft. Performance is also improved
with the ability to perform boom and drogue refueling
operations on the same sortie, though not
simultaneously, using the 1200 gallon-per-minute
fly-by-wire centerline boom or the 400 gallon-per-minute
centerline drogue system. In addition, the KC-46 can be
equipped with two 400 gallon-per-minute wing air
refueling pods which can be used to refuel two aircraft
The new tanker will be fully capable of day and night
operations and also be a receiver itself meaning it can
be refueled in flight, which will improve loiter time
all important characteristics offering increased
flexibility for mission planners.
Inside the digital glass cockpit, pilots will find
complete flight and weather data on 15-inch displays.
Immediately behind at the boom operator station, 24-inch
displays will offer a three-dimensional view just below
multiple monitors that show a panoramic 185-degree field
of view. Pilots will also be able to bring up refueling
operations on cockpit displays.
the near horizon, the program office is looking to award
a contract for the Aircrew Training System, which
includes a KC-46 simulator. In 2014, the program office,
in concert with Air Mobility Command officials, will
begin serious initial requirements work on the second
phase, known as KC-Y, of the three-phase program to
replace more of the aging tanker fleet.