KC-46A tests inflight fuel transfer

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The KC-46 tanker program reached a major milestone on January 24, 2016, when it successfully demonstrated its first aerial refueling contact and fuel transfer with an F-16C from Edwards Air Force Base in southern California, USA. The flight was the first in a block of testing out of Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, using the boom system.

The Pegasus passed 1,600 lb of fuel to an F-16 piloted by Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Alix, 416st Flight Test Squadron, who characterized the mission as a complete success. The KC-46A is currently scheduled to go to Edwards AFB in early 2017 to continue aerial refueling certifications and simulator data collection.

The new KC-46 comes with several big improvements and uses a remote vision system to operate the boom. Current tankers require the boom operator to conduct refueling by viewing the receiver aircraft through a large sighting window in the aircraft aft. The KC-46 boom operator does this while stationed in the front of the aircraft and using a remote camera system to view a 3-D image of the boom and receiver. The system has panoramic cameras offering a 185-degree horizontal field of view behind the aircraft, which is especially useful for probe and drogue refuelings.

The KC-46A will provide aerial refueling support to the United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, as well as allied nation coalition aircraft.

January 29, 2016

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With over 20 years experience in editorial management and content creation for multiple, market-leading titles at UKi Media & Events (publisher of Aerospace Testing International), one of the UK's fastest growing publishing companies, Anthony has written articles and news covering everything from aircraft, airports and cars, to cruise ships, trains, trucks and even tires!

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