Boeing to build two new KC-46A aerial refueling aircraft and avionics for Japan in $398.2 million order

Dec. 2, 2022
The KC-46A is based on the Boeing 767-200 widebody passenger jet. The multirole aerial tanker can refuel U.S., allied, and coalition military aircraft.

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – U.S. Air Force aerial refueling experts are asking the Boeing Co. to build two new KC-46A Pegasus military aerial refueling and strategic military transport aircraft for Japan under terms of a $398.2 million order announced Tuesday.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, are asking the Boeing Defense, Space & Security segment in Tukwila, Wash., to build the KC-46A aircraft for the Japan military.

The KC-46A aircraft is based on the Boeing 767-200 widebody passenger jet. The multirole aerial tanker can refuel all U.S., allied, and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures. In addition to refueling other aircraft in midair, the KC-46A also can carry passengers, cargo, and medical patients.

The KC-46A aircraft can detect, avoid, defeat, and survive threats using several layers of electronic protection that enable it to operate safely in medium-threat environments, Boeing officials say.

Related: Boeing team to provide 15 KC-46 aerial tanker aircraft, avionics, auxiliary power, and integrated displays

Honeywell Aerospace, Northrop Grumman Corp., and Raytheon Technologies Corp. are among the companies providing avionics subsystems and components for the KC-46A.

Honeywell Aerospace in Coon Rapids, Minn., provides the air data inertial navigation system for the KC-46A, while the company's facility in Phoenix provides the auxiliary power unit. The Honeywell Aerospace facility in Tucson, Ariz., provides the KC-46A cabin pressure control system, while the company's facility in Urbana, Ohio, provides the tanker's lighting system.

The Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems segment in Rolling Meadows, Ill., provides the KC-46A's Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM), while the Raytheon Intelligence & Space segment in El Segundo, Calif., provides the tanker's digital radar warning receiver and digital anti-jam global positioning system (GPS) receiver.

The Raytheon Collins Aerospace segment in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, provides the KC-46A integrated display system with 15.1-inch diagonal liquid crystal displays, which are based on the avionics suite for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger jet.

Related: Fourteen avionics suppliers to provide aviation parts support for KC-46 aerial tanker in $1.9 billion deal

Collins Aerospace also provides the KC-46A's tactical situational awareness system, remote vision system 3-D and 2-D technology for the boom operator, the communications, navigation, surveillance (CNI) system, networking, and flight-control systems.

The DRS Technologies Inc. Laurel Technologies Partnership in Johnstown, Pa., provides the KC-46A's aerial refueling operator station (AROS). The Eaton Aerospace facility in Grand Rapids, Mich., provides the tanker's electromechanical and cargo door actuation systems.

Woodward Inc. in Skokie, Ill., meanwhile, provides the sensor system, control unit, and telescopic and flight control sticks for the KC-46A-s aerial refueling boom.

GE Aviation Systems facilities in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Clearwater, Fla., provide the KC-46A mission control system avionics, which provide integrated communications management to support air traffic management data link, and enable the aircraft to perform with navigation precision not currently available to the tanker fleet.

Related: Boeing to build two KC-46 tanker aircraft, avionics, and electronic protection for the Japanese military

GE Aviation also provides the KC-46A flight management system (FMS), which helps the aircraft fly relatively short flight paths and idle-thrust descents to reduce fuel consumption, while lowering emissions and reducing engine noise.

Japan will form a new squadron for its KC-46As at Miho Air Base to operate with the nation's existing tanker fleet of four KC-767 and two KC-130H tankers. The new tankers will help refuel the Japan’s fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35A and F-35B joint strike fighters, Mitsubishi F-15 and F-2 jet fighters, and Bell-Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.

On this order Boeing will do the work in Everett, Wash., and should be finished by June 2025. For more information contact Boeing Defense, Space & Security online at, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at

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