Pegasus Wings its Way to 97th AMW
(Source: US Air Force; issued Feb 08, 2019)
ALTUS AFB, Okla. --- The 97th Air Mobility Wing welcomed its newest weapon system, the KC-46A Pegasus, to the official training unit of the Air Force’s state-of-the-art tanker aircraft at Altus Air Force Base, Feb. 8.
Distinguished visitors and members of the Altus AFB community gathered to witness the landing and official recognition ceremony of the 97th AMW receiving the first addition to the Air Force’s strategic training arsenal at Altus AFB.
Since being selected as the Air Force's KC-46 formal training unit in April 2014, the 97th AMW has been preparing to ensure their readiness to receive the aircraft, including construction of the new formal training center, fuselage trainer and hangar extensions, along with standing up the first KC-46 squadron.
“The 97th Air Mobility Wing is prepared for the arrival of the KC-46 and is eager to welcome the new aircraft into our already dynamic mission,” said Col. Eric Carney, 97th AMW commander. “Through the hard work and dedication of the men and women of the Mighty 97th, we are ready to train the KC-46 aircrew, maintenance and support personnel to provide a new era of air refueling capabilities for the joint force.”
As the center of excellence for training aircrews for not only air refueling but airlift as well, the 97th AMW is invaluable to the country in projecting power and leading the charge with innovation in training and support for three separate airframes, the C-17 Globemaster III, the KC-135 Stratotanker and now the KC-46.
In an era of great power competition, the KC-46 is expected to be more survivable, with enhanced communication, self-protection and situational awareness capabilities. Not only does the KC-46 refuel most fixed-wing, receiver-capable aircraft midair, the airframe can accommodate a mixed load of passengers, aeromedical evacuation, and cargo capabilities.
Boeing Delivers First KC-46A Tanker to Altus Air Force Base
(Source: Boeing Co.; issued Feb 08, 2019)
SEATTLE --- Boeing today delivered its fifth KC-46A Pegasus tanker to the U.S. Air Force, the first that will be based at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. The KC-46 departed Seattle’s Boeing Field for Altus, where the base’s 56th Air Refueling Squadron is responsible for Pegasus aircrew, maintenance and support training.
“We’re excited to see the Pegasus arrive in Oklahoma, a strong partner to Boeing and America’s military,” said Boeing Defense, Space & Security President and CEO Leanne Caret. “We look forward to continuing to deliver KC-46 tankers to Altus, McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas, and New Hampshire’s Pease Air National Guard Base, throughout this year.”
The 56th ARS was activated August 2016 in preparation for the new tanker’s arrival. Three additional KC-46A aircraft will be delivered to Altus in the coming weeks.
“The ‘Mighty 97th’ is looking forward to accepting and integrating the KC-46 into our mission,” Col. Eric Carney, Commander of the 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus Air Force Base, said. “The 97th AMW has and will continue to produce combat-capable pilots, loadmasters, and boom operators for the KC-135, C-17, and KC-46 and we remain committed to innovating how we train them to be a part of a joint force to win our nation’s wars.”
During extensive flight testing to date, six KC-46 aircraft have completed more than 3,800 flight hours and offloaded more than four million pounds of fuel to A-10, AV-8B, B-52, C-17, KC-10, KC-135, KC-46, F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft.
The first four multi-role KC-46 tankers were delivered in January to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan. Boeing is currently on contract for 52 of an expected 179 tankers for the Air Force.
The KC-46, derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, is built in the company’s Everett, Wash., facility. Boeing received its initial contract in 2011 to design and develop the Air Force’s newest tanker aircraft.