Pegasus refuels Globemaster

The KC-46 Pegasus refuels a C-17 Globemaster III July 12, 2016. The successful mission tested the hydraulic pressure relief valves installed to correct higher-than-expected axial loads in the boom. (Courtesy photo)

The KC-46 Pegasus refuels a C-17 Globemaster III July 12, 2016. The successful mission tested the hydraulic pressure relief valves installed to correct higher-than-expected axial loads in the boom. (Courtesy photo)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The KC-46A Pegasus connected in flight with an F-16 Fighting Falcon on July 8 and a C-17 Globemaster III on July 12.

These tests with the F-16 and C-17 were in support of the Milestone C requirements to rendezvous, contact, and transfer fuel to several receiver aircraft types.

An initial attempt with the F-16 earlier this year was successful, however higher-than-expected axial loads on the boom were detected. These loads were again present during the initial attempt with the C-17 and necessitated installation of hydraulic pressure relief valves in the boom.

This week's successful tests show the boom axial loads hardware fix, designed by Boeing engineers, is performing as expected to alleviate the loads.

"I'm encouraged by these results. The KC-46 program continues to move forward, making important progress that will get this vital capability into the hands of the warfighter," said Deborah James, Secretary of the Air Force.

The final Milestone C flight test is to transfer fuel through the fixed boom to an A-10 Thunderbolt. That test is also slated to occur this month.

"Once complete with the A-10, we will request approval from Mr. Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, to award production Lots 1 and 2, totaling 19 KC-46A aircraft," according to Darlene Costello, Air Force Service Acquisition Executive.

"While it took some time, this week's results confirm my confidence the Boeing team will get this figured out. It's reassuring to see the program take this important step toward the production decision in August," said Gen. Dave Goldfein, Chief of Staff.