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Boeing Nabs Pegasus Upgrade Contract

First Block Upgrade Already in Pipeline for Newest Addition to Tanker Fleet

Boeing has been granted the contract for a Block 1 upgrade for the KC-46A to the tune of $184 million, an upgrade that will provide the Pegasus with a qualitative improvement in secure communications.

The Air Force has already lauded the KC-46 program for delivering a next-generation, secure platform for fleet support, but Block 1 will add even more robust comms systems to bolster the tanker’s survivability in contested environments. Block 1 will include “line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight communications technologies with antijamming and encryption features,” further enhancing the overall connectivity of the Pegasus to improve fleet-wide situational awareness.

Boeing is quick to toot its own horn about its KC-46A, noting that its 2022 entry into service was described as “game changing” by Air Mobility Command brass. The US Air Force remains the biggest Pegasus customer, however, with 69 already in the fleet. A January order for another 15 KC-46As put the total to 128 aircraft in all. The KC-46A carries the flag as America’s advanced tanker offering, competing against the Embraer C-390 Millennium and the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport. So far, it’s managed to gain the attention of 2 allied forces, with a pair delivered to the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, and another 4 bound for the Israeli Air Force. Its civilian-spec transport counterpart, the 767, has remained a popular proposition with carriers around the world, though marred by some production issues.

The Pegsaus remains free of the same problems, and despite a rocky start with some of its advanced camera tech, has gone on to mpress both operators and manufacturers alike. Last year, one official called the boom operator stations’ camera suite a “quantum leap ' in tech, providing all-weather, day/night capability far beyond previous tanker stations.



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