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.