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Boeing’s KC-46 Successfully Refuels F/A-18

February 12, 2016 (Photo Credit: John Parker/Boeing)

WASHINGTON — Boeing’s KC-46 tanker successfully refueled a Navy F/A-18 aircraft in the skies above Washington state on Feb. 10, according to the company.

The event was the KC-46’s first refueling using its hose and drogue system, according to a Feb. 12 Boeing news release.

This is the second time the KC-46, a militarized version of Boeing’s 767 commercial jet, has successfully refueled another aircraft. In January, the aircraft transferred 1,600 pounds of fuel to an Air Force F-16 fighter jet using its “boom.”

Air Force fixed-wing assets use the boom system for aerial refueling, with a planned 1,200 gallons-per-minute transfer rate from the KC-46. Air Force helicopters and most Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, on the other hand, use the hose and drogue, also called “probe-and-drogue,” method of refueling.

Both refueling events are part of the program’s Milestone C demonstration, which will lead to a low-rate production decision later this year.

The Air Force is planning to buy 179 KC-46s in total to recapitalize its aging tanker fleet. According to the contract terms, Boeing must deliver 18 ready-to-go tankers by August 2017.

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